Gone But Not Forgotten

Hello, you've landed on DATA eh? - Open Data Toronto's original blog space for data discussions. This is not an active blog at the moment but legacy posts are still here. Have a read ... you can still provide comments.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Apple Maps Apps Pap

By Keith McDonald
Riffing off my last post, I downloaded the new iOS6 for my iPod Touch yesterday. Today, I find there is a great blast of dissatisfaction right now in how the new Apple Maps aren't as good as what was there before from Google.

I wrote here once about "being only as good as your data", most recently in reference to the Google Car. Are we seeing that potential danger happen here in real time?

Looks like, for any reason, if the new Apple Maps were driving the new Google car, you would likely end up on no road at all and perhaps be driven into a lake or stream! Judging from all the chatter throughout the social media universe, the Apple map app isn't ready yet.

dead end sign with words: ''who told you there was a road here?''

Who Gets More Slack?

Whenever toronto.ca web launches something new,

we always see a huge blow back if anything doesn't work as expected. So, it's no surprise to me that Apple would be taking hits on twitter and blogs around a #fail. The larger question might be how big is the fail?

While testing should capture most of the bugs and errors, I think we can agree that you might excuse a few things. But it looks like that small and tolerable error line has been crossed.

Good Or Bad Data?

I wonder how much of the issues are data related over anything else? If it's bad data giving wrong results that's a lot different than a technical problem that points to correct data but in the wrong context. Is Apple getting too cocky to do their due diligence? I find it hard to believe testing didn't uncover the problems being talked about such as a farm being labelled as an airport or Helsinki's railway station listed as a park. 

TomTom, the map data supplier, is saying it's not their issue, but does it really matter who's to blame if you end up at a farm instead of an airport? The expectation would be to trust the results on the map. How and why they end up being in error is not your first concern.

This whole deal raises some issues for me. Here are a few:

  • Will Apple and TomTom get more slack than we (City of Toronto) would on such a problem?
  • Is there a difference in a private company vs. a city when it comes to applications
  • Are there repercussions in app developers using city data but their work showing bogus results? 

These are the kinds of things we ponder here when we hear of situations just like this one.

How will it end?

Clearly we can expect a fix. But will it be 100%? You would hope so. Or maybe Apple and Google will patch up their relationship and become great friends again. I'd like to see them leverage the best each has to offer!

Personally, I view technology itself as very much the wild, wild west. Even though you might have an expectation that something will work as advertised, it may not! That's where fine print excuses (or legal outs) come into play. 

I didn't notice any such alert on the download of the new operating system but there probably was. How many of us read the "user agreements" - for updates? I would wager not that many of us.So maybe it's buyer beware every time - even on an update.

Perhaps that's a "new normal". I don't like it but it may be reality. And, hey, next time we launch something new on our web, remember this discussion OK? 

Love to hear what you think about all this and if your expectations are any different when it comes to city delivered vs. private enterprise.

DATA eh? #30

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