Glitch in Apple Maps directs drivers onto a runway in Alaska

The glitch is still present in the latest version.

Yet another glitch in the Apple Maps software is directing wayward drivers onto a runway at a major Alaska Airport instead of the intended destination, which in this case is the terminal building an airport official said on Wednesday.

Although so far the glitch has only "claimed" two drivers, one on Sep. 6 and again last Friday, thankfully there have been no injuries or major incidents; both occurred in the early morning hours between flights. The directions actually stop at the tarmac, but an airport official pointed out "It doesn't actually tell you to cross, but the problem is, people see the terminal then at that point, because they are right there, and they just continue across," said Fairbanks International Airport spokeswoman Angie Spear.

"Obviously, it could have been a very, very, very dangerous situation had they come during a flight departure or arrival," Spear said. The road has now been barricaded.

Both times the drivers said they were using an iPhone for directions.

In July, state Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, had a close call of his own when he was trying to make a flight after a meeting. In an unfamiliar part of Fairbanks, Gara decided to use his iPhone map app to take the shortest route to the airport.

Gara said the app took him to some weird places in Fairbanks, and then to the small plane airport near the international airport.

"Eventually, it told me to make a right onto the small plane runway, which in fact was the shortest way to get to the big airport," he said. "I give the iPhone app credit for that."

But he did not heed the directions: "I'm not a big fan of driving on runways."

After the first incident airport personnel immediately contacted Apple, who said they would publish an update. But as of last Friday the app had still not been updated leading to the most recent incident.

Apple has yet to comment on the issue to the Associated Press.

Source: abcnews | Image: CNet

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26 Comments

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I know apple users are iSheep but do you trust your phone when it tells you to run across a runway? wow. no wonder they buy anything apple makes.

If I am remembering right. that is a legal road to cross for traffic and pedestrians when they have the go ahead to cross. They only get a green light after a plane has landed and way before a plane is inbound. cool and not that safe. But it works and its a lot quicker. neonspark comment makes him sound like a MS fanboy on a rant.

Apparently there were multiple warning signs that the drivers had ignored, but still... Yes. Signs alone shouldn't be enough, haha.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is also why the app got confused. They're often not really taking signs into account (I've had problems with this happening on Google Maps as well), and just using algorithms to assume things about connected streets. And this just happened to be a street that went to a runway!?

I wonder how effective a "NO TERRORISTS BEYOND THIS POINT" sign would be.

A fence is the most basic form of protection at an airport. I would assume there would be many airlines who would not land at a facility with a lack of basic security.

auziez said,
Im hoping now that microsoft bought out Nokias D/S that apple might consider licensing HERE maps.

Why would they want to license HERE maps (and line MS's pockets)? as opposed to licensing a solution from one of the SatNav companies - TomTom, Garmin, Co-Pilot, Sygic, Navigon, iGo etc, etc many of which use the same Navteq mapping (Navteq not being included in the MS / Nokia deal)

20legend said,

Why would they want to license HERE maps (and line MS's pockets)? as opposed to licensing a solution from one of the SatNav companies - TomTom, Garmin, Co-Pilot, Sygic, Navigon, iGo etc, etc many of which use the same Navteq mapping (Navteq not being included in the MS / Nokia deal)

Wait.. what? HERE maps is not part of the deal when MS takes over Nokia. They are only buying out the mobile division. So if Apple licenses HERE maps they'll be lining Nokia's pockets and not MS.

It would be giving Google the middle finger if it was any good. Until its good enough to compete its just an embarrassment for Apple.

I would recommend iPhone users go buy a proper GPS, but I fear Apple Maps would send them into a lake (or something) on the way to the store.