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Apple Maps still sending users to undesired locations, like an airport runway

Almost a year after the last big Apple Maps disaster, the app is being blamed for the drivers who have ended up on a major runway at an Alaska airport.

On two separate occasions in the past three weeks, drivers have accidentally driven across the main runway at Alaska's Fairbanks International Airport, local news site the Alaska Dispatch reported.

The culprit? Apple Maps, once again.

The directions on Apple's relatively new native navigation app directed drivers onto the airport's Taxiway Bravo, which the Alaska Dispatch says is "a direct shot across the main runway to the terminal."

The turn-by-turn directions were specific, using the access route that general aviation pilots use to the East Ramp, which is on the other side of the runway from the main airport terminal.

The map directions concluded by telling drivers to go to Taxiway Bravo, shown as "Taxiway B" on the satellite image in the app. The directions did not tell drivers to cross the main runway used regularly by 737s and other aircraft.

But once drivers reached the taxiway, it was only natural for them to look up and see the terminal on the other side of the runway. So that’s where they drove.

Some of the blame should be placed on the drivers, as one airport official told the Dispatch that the drivers drove past several signs and a gate before they got from Taxiway Bravo to the runway.

However, the airport officials also touched upon an interesting new dynamic in the smartphone age - the sometimes irrational reliance on GPS navigation.

"No matter what the signs say, the map on their iPhone told them to proceed this way," Angie Spear, marketing director for the airport, told the Dispatch.

So it seemed nothing would be able to fix the problem better than Apple. After the first time it happened, on September 6, the airport reached out to Apple through the state's attorney general, and was told that the problem was going to be fixed "promptly," according to the report.

Then it happened again on September 20th, prompting the airport to close the road leading to Taxiway Bravo and install new barricades.

It's been just over a year since Apple released its new app, and roughly 10 months since it's caused issues as big as this - in December 2012, Apple's Maps app was deemed responsible for sending several people in Australia to a remote destination in a national park, 43 miles from the location they were seeking. So this comes as somewhat of a surprise.

But it's not a necessary evil, either - Google Maps is available for iOS, and it's worked just fine for me.

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