Thursday, 20 September 2012

Lincoln - Apple mapping's forgotten city?

The launch of the new iPhone 5 and the accompanying iOS6 has been shouted loudly in recent weeks.  As an iPhone 4S user, last night I spent two hours updating my phone to the new operating system.  Among the things it promises are a whole new mapping app and the ability to perform local services searches that have previously only been available in the US.

The deficiencies of the new system are already becoming apparent - such as the town of Luton being relocated wholesale to Devon.  But how does the new system fare for someone living in a small, out of the way city like Lincoln.  Let's find out...

Ever one for serious activities, I thought I'd start out with the basics and ask it where my nearest Starbucks was (not that that particular brand of coffee is my favourite, I just thought it was a question it would surely get right).  Sadly, despite there being THREE Starbucks in Lincoln, it seems that I actually have to travel to Louth to get a cuppa and a muffin.

Not to be accused of brand bias, I tried some more.  Caffe Nero?  Nope - have to go to Huddersfield.  Costa?  A shorter trip to Gainsborough is in order it seems.  What about some great local independent coffee like Coffee Aroma?  Sorry, never heard of it, guv.

OK, having failed to get a coffee, let's try something more cultural.  A search in the mapping app for 'lincoln museum' should surely bring up a number of options.  After all, Lincoln is well served, with both The Collection and the Museum of Lincolnshire Life offering local museumey goodness.  Not according to the iPhone though.  Apparently the Queen's Royal Lancers have a museum in Lincoln, though.  Not only that, but they can be found in a Spar shop at the bottom of the High Street!  Odd, I've worked in museums in Lincoln for ten years, but somehow never been to the Spar military museum...

Even specific searches are pretty poor, with 'the collection' returning a shop at the top of town, that even the mapping app is confused over the name of!

So far, so bad.  Let's get sporty.  Will the mighty Lincoln City FC be famous enough to feature in Apple's world?  Thankfully yes, with a pin dropped right onto the centre spot of our beloved 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium.

With this glorious success under our belts, lets try to buy some electronics.  Maybe go to PC World (on Tritton Road, for those that don't already know).  No, apparently Doncaster hosts our local store (or, according to Apple, 'Duncaster' - they haven't even been able to spell the name right!).  Bizarrely, it knows where the Lincoln Comet store is, but not the Curry's store only a few yards away, despite them being owned by the same company.  Shopping at Curry's means once again going to Louth.  At least you can get a coffee while you're there...

So, with only the Football ground and Comet successfully located in this unscientific little test, the only conclusion can be that Apple needs to get its act together quickly, or its new mapping will be useless to anybody outside of the big cities.  At the minute, I certainly won't trust it when I'm out travelling.

Check out this Tumblr page for more worldwide Apple mapping madness.

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