Apple goes way off course in map mistake
TECHNOLOGY gurus at Apple left Irish customers wondering if pigs might fly after a city farm was identified as an airport in an electronic mapping device.
And while Temple Bar may contain its share of party animals, it isn't home to Dublin Zoo -- as the technology giant suggested.
Apple was left red-faced yesterday after users on both sides of the Irish Sea -- including Justice Minister Alan Shatter -- pointed out glaring errors in an iPhone app.
The recently upgraded iOS 6 maps application replaces Google maps on iPhones.
But it showed Airfield in Dundrum -- which is home to farm animals, gardens and a cafe -- inappropriately marked with an aeroplane symbol, which is used to denote airports.
Meanwhile, Dublin Zoo was misplaced in Temple Bar, while other errors were spotted by users in the UK.
The Airfield error prompted Dublin South TD Mr Shatter to urge Apple to correct the mistake immediately.
"In the context of Airfield there are a variety of possible alternative images that could be utilised such as a cow, a goat, a sheep, a flower or any indeed other type of plant, as Airfield operates a nursery," Mr Shatter said.
"Clearly the designation is not only wrong but is dangerously misleading, in that it could result in a pilot, unfamiliar with the area, in an emergency situation and without other available information, attempting a landing," he said.
The marking on Apple's iOS 6 application was first spotted by Aleesha Tully and posted on her Twitter account, from where it went viral.
Mr Shatter's suggestion that the mistake was dangerous was played down by aviation experts.
Joe McDermott, general aviation editor for 'Flying In Ireland' magazine said no pilot in his right mind would ever use an app on his phone to chart his course, even in an emergency.
"It wouldn't happen," he told the Irish Independent.
"You just don't pick up an iPhone and decide to fly."
Paul Cullen, Director of Safety and Technical with the Irish Airline Pilots Association, also doubted pilots would be using their iPhones for navigation.
"I'd be surprised if pilots had their phones on," he said. "If it was a real emergency in a small aircraft you would be looking for a landing strip and you wouldn't have time to take your phone out to look for an airport."
But the error prompted Dublin Airport Authority to move quickly, again using Twitter: "Just in case anybody is confused @DublinAirport is not moving to the southside."
No one from Apple could be reached for comment as the mistakes continued to rack up last night.
The birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon in England, was inexplicably missing, as was London's iconic Paddington Station. Meanwhile Manchester United Football Club was replaced with a club for aspiring young footballers over the age of five.
Airfield Director Kathy Purcell said she was taken aback yesterday morning when she started getting texts about the "airport".
"We're having a bit of a laugh about it," she said.
"But if someone did land, we'd welcome them with a hearty stew."
The site operates as a working urban farm with gardens and a cafe sprawled out over 38 acres.
It is currently closed until next year for refurbishment.
It was once home to the Overend family, who famously owned one of the first motor cars in the area -- but no aerplanes.