Oxford's dreaming spires and landmarks disappear under new Apple iOS 6 maps app

thisisoxfordshire: Susi Golding, director of Visit Oxfordshire Susi Golding, director of Visit Oxfordshire

It seems like something from a parallel universe – an Oxford University college in the middle of a river and Oxford Railway Station replaced by a Chinese restaurant.

But that’s what some iPhone-using tourists visiting Oxford have been faced with this week.

Tourists have been left baffled after an update to iPhone and iPad software to the iOS6 operating system installed a new map application, which scrambled some of the city’s key landmarks.

The Apple-designed application confuses the positions of a number of the university’s colleges – and over the weekend it even neglected to show the location of the city’s train station – an error which had by yesterday been corrected.

The mistakes include Magdalen College being in the River Cherwell and no locations listed for the police station or the crown court.

Another gaff comes through the listing of Radcliffe Infirmary – despite it having been partially demolished since closing five years ago.

And the Golden Harvest Canton Restaurant was placed in the location where the train station should be.

The familiar Google Maps was replaced in the update last week, which also comes ready-installed on all new devices, in favour of Apple’s own system, created using data from navigation firm TomTom and others.

Susi Golding, director of Visit Oxfordshire, said: “It is slightly unfortunate that the train station is missing. The fact that there are missing landmarks could be confusing for tourists as some of them do rely on their phones when they visit the city.”

The latest problem comes after a difficult year for city tourism – as the Oxford Mail reported earlier this month, there was a 43 per cent drop in visitors at the Oxford Visitor Information Centre, which recorded 150,904 visitors between May and August this year, compared to 263,515 in the same period in 2011.

Ms Golding said she was hoping that since the new application could not be relied on at the moment, people would instead use the more conventional method of asking at tourist information centres in person.

Another option comes from the installation of a new pedestrian wayfinding system, Oxford Explore, which is being rolled out across the city centre this month.

It is an integrated set of signs, maps and information panels that highlight the city’s many attractions and help visitors explore different routes and discover more of the city.

Ms Golding added: “We would encourage tourists to visit the information centre in Broad Street where we will be able to help them find the famous landmarks of the city.”

A spokesman for Apple said: “We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it.

"Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”

Comments (5)

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11:22am Wed 26 Sep 12

WitneyGreen says...

The new Apple maps are embarrassingly bad, but it really will be a temporary problem - give it a few weeks and Google will have an App that is as good as or better than its previous maps service, so there really is no need to panic and bluster. If all else fails, visitors could always revert to the old fashioned paper maps, signposts, and using their eyes to find their way around our very easy-to-navigate city instead of seeing it through the screen of a phone or iPad.

Sub-eds: Gaff is usually spelled 'gaffe', by the way.
The new Apple maps are embarrassingly bad, but it really will be a temporary problem - give it a few weeks and Google will have an App that is as good as or better than its previous maps service, so there really is no need to panic and bluster. If all else fails, visitors could always revert to the old fashioned paper maps, signposts, and using their eyes to find their way around our very easy-to-navigate city instead of seeing it through the screen of a phone or iPad. Sub-eds: Gaff is usually spelled 'gaffe', by the way. WitneyGreen

11:51am Wed 26 Sep 12

bart-on simpson says...

An excellent comment by WitneyGreen. Eyes really are useful things!
An excellent comment by WitneyGreen. Eyes really are useful things! bart-on simpson

12:11pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

WitneyGreen wrote:
The new Apple maps are embarrassingly bad, but it really will be a temporary problem - give it a few weeks and Google will have an App that is as good as or better than its previous maps service, so there really is no need to panic and bluster. If all else fails, visitors could always revert to the old fashioned paper maps, signposts, and using their eyes to find their way around our very easy-to-navigate city instead of seeing it through the screen of a phone or iPad.

Sub-eds: Gaff is usually spelled 'gaffe', by the way.
I agree, but unfortunately, the tourist signposts appear to be disappearing, although some have been replaced with metal boxes, in order to make the new Oxford Explore work, I presume.
As for good old fashion paper maps, I've lost count of the amount of people I've helped, that were using them, or that I've seen from a distance, staring at one unable to comprehend what they were looking at.
[quote][p][bold]WitneyGreen[/bold] wrote: The new Apple maps are embarrassingly bad, but it really will be a temporary problem - give it a few weeks and Google will have an App that is as good as or better than its previous maps service, so there really is no need to panic and bluster. If all else fails, visitors could always revert to the old fashioned paper maps, signposts, and using their eyes to find their way around our very easy-to-navigate city instead of seeing it through the screen of a phone or iPad. Sub-eds: Gaff is usually spelled 'gaffe', by the way.[/p][/quote]I agree, but unfortunately, the tourist signposts appear to be disappearing, although some have been replaced with metal boxes, in order to make the new Oxford Explore work, I presume. As for good old fashion paper maps, I've lost count of the amount of people I've helped, that were using them, or that I've seen from a distance, staring at one unable to comprehend what they were looking at. Dilligaf2010

1:36pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Myron Blatz says...

Well, what do people expect from Apple products made with components sourced from the 'sweat shops' of mainland China in factories which wouldn't even meet eco-friendly and H&S conditions to which most LibDem and Green supporters in Oxford expect and demand from everything else - and which Labour City Councillors would have already backed and supported industrial action over! Still, I suppose people could always use Tum-Tum maps in their cars, and end their local trip to Banbury, via Glasgow?
Well, what do people expect from Apple products made with components sourced from the 'sweat shops' of mainland China in factories which wouldn't even meet eco-friendly and H&S conditions to which most LibDem and Green supporters in Oxford expect and demand from everything else - and which Labour City Councillors would have already backed and supported industrial action over! Still, I suppose people could always use Tum-Tum maps in their cars, and end their local trip to Banbury, via Glasgow? Myron Blatz

6:14pm Thu 27 Sep 12

ger elttil OX2 0EJ says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
Well, what do people expect from Apple products made with components sourced from the 'sweat shops' of mainland China in factories which wouldn't even meet eco-friendly and H&S conditions to which most LibDem and Green supporters in Oxford expect and demand from everything else - and which Labour City Councillors would have already backed and supported industrial action over! Still, I suppose people could always use Tum-Tum maps in their cars, and end their local trip to Banbury, via Glasgow?
Obvoiusly Myron you are bigoted against APPLE. Every major brand in the world have their products assembled, manufactured or both in the sweat shops of China, India, Pakistan, S.E. Asia etc. So what exactly is your problem?
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: Well, what do people expect from Apple products made with components sourced from the 'sweat shops' of mainland China in factories which wouldn't even meet eco-friendly and H&S conditions to which most LibDem and Green supporters in Oxford expect and demand from everything else - and which Labour City Councillors would have already backed and supported industrial action over! Still, I suppose people could always use Tum-Tum maps in their cars, and end their local trip to Banbury, via Glasgow?[/p][/quote]Obvoiusly Myron you are bigoted against APPLE. Every major brand in the world have their products assembled, manufactured or both in the sweat shops of China, India, Pakistan, S.E. Asia etc. So what exactly is your problem? ger elttil OX2 0EJ

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