iOS Maps Glitches

When Apple debuted iOS Maps last fall, its shortcomings were immediately apparent.

iOS Maps Glitches

The service soon become the butt of many Internet jokes, most of which pointed out the many hilarious rendering flubs that plague Maps.

iOS Maps Glitches

The Maps glitches also caught the eye of coder/imagemaker Peder Norrby.

iOS Maps Glitches

Norrby began capturing all the interesting visual errors that he came across.

iOS Maps Glitches

In many instances, roads blended into landscapes.

iOS Maps Glitches

Or merged into buildings.

iOS Maps Glitches

Or folded on themselves, forming giant 90-degree cliff falls.

iOS Maps Glitches

Objects, such as airplanes and cars, were also marred by glitches.

iOS Maps Glitches

The errors aren’t actually "glitches" but can be attributed to iOS’s underperforming rendering program.

iOS Maps Glitches

"The glitches are essentially the computer misunderstanding the underlying geometry," he tells Co.Design.

iOS Maps Glitches

"It tries its best and sometimes it leads to comical, interesting, and lovely images.”

iOS Maps Glitches

Interestingly, the subjects of some of Norrby’s screen grabs have been repaired--something he says adds to his project.

Co.Design

The Bizarro Landscapes Created By Apple's iOS Maps

A computer engineer and photographer turns iOS Maps gaffes into portraits of failure.

When it was launched last fall, Apple’s iOS Maps quickly became the butt of many Internet jokes. Full of bugs, glitches, and an uncanny handling of geography, the app failed in spectacular fashion, most memorably, by instructing users to take a left turn into the ocean or in pinpointing their destination to the middle of an airport runway.

While many web denizens furiously worked to post all the algorithm fails they could find, few would do so with the curator’s eye of Peder Norrby. His iOS Maps Glitches artfully collects the melting bridges, jagged buildings, and discombobulated landscapes that plague Apple’s app.

Norrby, who’s the founder of the computer graphics company Trapcode, has been cataloging his finds for several months. His Flickr page devoted to the series depicts the vast array of glitches he’s managed to capture: Wide expanses of fractured highway that fold into vertiginous 90-degree cliffs; trees lining avenues become surrealist amorphous blobs of green; and a sole roller coaster is reduced to what looks like a prop from the classic Playstation game Twisted Metal.

The visual hiccups aren’t "glitches" per se, but rather the result of iOS’s underperforming rendering engine, which seems to have an extraordinarily tough time with textural mapping, i.e., draping a 2-D image over a 3-D topographical model. As Norrby tells Co.Design: "The glitches are essentially the computer misunderstanding the underlying geometry. It tries its best and sometimes it leads to comical, interesting, and lovely images."

Since Norrby began collecting the photos, Apple has been quietly correcting some of the very flaws that are the subject of his colorful screen grabs. "I’ve seen some glitches disappear," he says, referring to "Tricky roundabout," an elevated highway loop that hovered above a series of drooping roads before they were later smoothed out. The corrections, he explains, "add" to his project.

Regarding similar efforts to document Apple’s failed attempt to challenge Google Maps, Norrby says his aims are different. "I’m not trying to ridicule Apple Maps. I’m doing this because I like the images."

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5 Comments

  • Gavin

    By the way

    @ GENERALMOTORSGRAVYTRAIN

    you're an idiot - like you know what you're talking about! 

  • GeneralmotorsGravytrain

    One thing for certain, for a company with an over-abundance of cash wealth, they sure know how to screw up services in a big way.  The company just cuts far too many corners when it comes to getting the right people.  It's what you might call an embarrassment of riches.