New app makes Oxford landmarks disappear

The latest update to the iOS6 iPhone and iPad operating system is causing confusion in Oxford, after several attractions on the new map application disappeared or changed their location overnight.

The program appears to have made several errors, such as marking the location of the Radcliffe Infirmary, despite the building having been partially demolished since it closed five years ago. The application also mixed up the positions of several Oxford colleges, locating Magdalen College in the River Cherwell.

A spokesperson for Apple acknowledged the limitations of their new map service, stating, “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.”

Some of the errors have already been addressed by Apple, including the omission of the town train station which had been replaced by the Golden Harvest Canton Restaurant.

Tourists have been caught up in the confusion at a time when the city has experienced a downturn in visitor numbers. According to the Oxford Mail, there was a 43 per cent drop in tourist numbers at the Oxford Visitor Information Centre between May and August of this year, compared with 2011.

Susi Golding, director of Visit Oxfordshire, hoped that tourists will get past the confusion by relying less on their phones and choosing more traditional methods of navigation, such as asking staff at Broad Street’s tourist information centre.

In addition to the map application, pedestrians can make use of a new navigating system, Oxford Explore, which is being made available throughout the town centre this October. The program gives directions to various landmarks along more obscure routes, allowing visitors the opportunity to explore more of the city.

Second year historian Henry Baker commented, ‘I think Oxford as a cohesive unit would be much better if it really was the case that Magdalen and its stuck-up students were miraculously drowned in the Cherwell. I would of course save the deer; they never did anything to deserve such an end.’ Second year Maths student Elizabeth Rendle added, ‘I hope the tourists can swim!’