Apple’s Maps application falls foul to old university prank in Afghanistan

I don’t think we’ve ever heard good news about Apple’s-own Map’s application. The latest straw to be placed on Apple’s camel comes in the form of a prank made by some Afghan university students that has ended up in Apple’s wretched mapping system. The students changed some of Kabul’s street names to “Bad Monkey”, “Mojo Way” and “Hillbilly Hameed”, with the fake (and actually rather funny) names being discovered by a Kabul local.

The prank wasn’t conducted recently, however, because the students that pulled it off added the names years ago, when they put them on Kabul’s OpenStreetMap entry.

Apple used much of OpenStreetMap’s data for its own mapping system, hence the reason for the prank being on Apple’s application.

Director of OpenStreetMap, Kate Chapman, told the story to UN Dispatch:

“The old maps were created by a small group of Afghan university students and mapping enthusiasts who assigned prankish fake names to streets that lacked official names or were subjects of naming disputes due to decades of overlapping conflicts. Eventually, these digital cartographers replaced most of the fake street names with the names most commonly used by locals, or simply removed them and left the streets nameless.

The issue is that Apple took an old snapshot of the OpenStreetMap data and hasn’t updated it since, so things like ‘personal’ street names are in there, even if they have been fixed since. The fact that they don’t update the data shows that the incentive for people to improve the map just isn’t going to be there.”

Kabul doesn’t have a very dense iPhone ownership, so Apple doesn’t urgently need to change the street names. If you fancy admiring the prank, you can view the street names on Apple’s Maps app.




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