Australian police warn drivers to avoid Apple maps

Australian police have discouraged owners of Apple's iPhone from relying on the phone's map app after rescuing several people who became stranded in the country's wilderness by following the apps' directions.

According to local police in Mildura, Apple's mapping software erroneously lists the city in the middle of a national park - nearly 43 miles away from its actual location. The false directions have caused six motorists driving to the city to become stranded in the national park, some for up to 24 hours with little food or water.

Meanwhile, some motorists were forced to walk "long distances through dangerous terrain" in order to get phone reception and since temperatures can reach up to 46 degrees Celsius, the police have called it a "potentially life-threatening issue."

"Tests on the mapping system by police confirm the mapping systems lists Mildura in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, approximately 70km (43 milles) away from the actual location of Mildura," police said in a statement.

"Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the Park. Anyone travelling to Mildura or other locations within Victoria should rely on other forms of mapping until this matter is rectified," the police insisted.

Apple replaced Google Maps, formerly the default mapping app on iOS, with its own navigation software in September when it released its latest mobile platform, iOS 6. The app immediately came under fire from users complaining of widespread inaccuracy.

The inadequacy of the software led to a public apology from CEO Tim Cook and the reported firing of iOS Chief Scott Forstall. Last month, Apple reportedly dumped another executive, Richard Williamson, who was involved in the execution of the disastrous app.