That’s not an airport, it’s a farm – Irish Minister for Justice considers Apple’s iOS 6 Maps dangerous

Airfield, Dublin

Ireland’s Minister for Justice has a few concerns with Apple’s new iOS6 map application.  The main one being that iOS6’s new mapping app identifies Airfield Garden, a working farm in a residential area, as an actual airport.

Minister Alan Shatter described his confusion of the designation, saying;

“I am surprised to discover that Airfield, which is in the centre of my constituency in Dundrum, has, in Apple’s new operating system iOS 6 maps application, been designated with the image of an aircraft.

Airfield, a 35 acre estate with working farm, formal gardens and café is of course a famous and immensely popular, important local amenity. “

In a statement released today he warns that describing the location as an airport could be dangerous to pilots and locals, “Clearly the designation is not only wrong but is dangerously misleading in that it could result in a pilot, unfamiliar with the area,  in an emergency situation and without other available information, attempting a landing.”

Dundrum's newest airport... according to Apple's new Maps app
Dundrum’s newest airport… according to Apple’s new Maps app

The Minister did offer some alternative icons for Apple, which his department is arranging contact with; such as “a cow, a goat, a sheep, a flower or any indeed other type of plant as Airfield operates a nursery.”

“An aircraft is an entirely inappropriate flight of imagination,” he added, with the pun probably intended.

The Minister will be happy to see that Google Maps uses a nice tree to identify the location.

View Larger Map

The location, which has its own website (@airfieldfarm | Facebook), is currently undergoing renovations and describes itself as “city farm and formal gardens situated on a thirty-five acre estate in Dublin.” The site’s objectives don’t list an airport as among its goals.

This isn’t the first time that mapping applications have made mistakes in Ireland; Google Maps still reports that U2’s scrapped tower is located in Dublin.

HT to


  1. @Lessien That would be my first thought as a pilot in an emergency. Not my eyes, but my iPhone. (which is supposed to be powered off)

  2. It wasn’t a mapping blunder that caused U2’s tower to appear it was because the developers registered it’s existence on the map and didn’t cancel it after it fell through !

  3. It wasn’t a mapping blunder that caused U2’s tower to appear it was because the developers registered it’s existence on the map and didn’t cancel it after it fell through !

  4. @Techmeme @pdscott if you know it’s a farm & not an airport why are you, (A) searching for it and (B) apple bashing because of it ???

  5. Considering that pilots don’t use cell phones or iPads to determine their location and surroundings I don’ t think an emergency landing for a pilot unfamiliar with the area will be a concern. They likely won’t even have data to those devices to pull up their location. I’d be a bit concerned if my pilot tried to pull up Google maps to try and figure out where to land.

    1. Pretty sure he means small aircraft pilots. If the pilot of a one person plane had to make an emergency landing and believed there was an airport at that location it could be dangerous. Probably not going to happen, but a possibility.

  6. @Lessien actually many small craft pilots “bolt up” portable gps devices. If they got in trouble in unfamiliar area they may mistake site.

  7. @Lessien I had a tomtom unit for about a minute and swapped it for a garmin. Their data set is a mess. No other way to say it.

  8. I don’t see what all the fuss is about.  In my opinion, this app is way better than the previous version.  Turn by turn is excellent for my purposes here in Connecticut.

    1. That the problem, it’s fine if you are in the USA.  The rest of the world can suck it according to Apple. I Paid a premium price for a premium product with premium functionality.  What I have now is something that resembles the functionality I had 5 years ago.
      How can you go live with no transit in London?

  9. @grantanderson Yeah, been hearing a LOT of neg press. BUT, in the interim you can add the Google Maps mobile version to your home screen!

  10. @flamelauthor The Magician gets some PRIME closeup screen time next to Meryl Streep’s face in her new movie, Hope Springs. Have you seen??

  11. @abbandunne I updated last night, I live right next to Airfield, so all of a sudden I saw an airport next to my house and thought… cool!

  12. @drewux This is Apple’s worst PR in years. It’s mostly us nerds now, but wait until tomorrow’s iPhone 5 launch is marred by “Mapgate”…

    1. @jschoenwald iOS 6 is currently only at 15% adoption. Once that hits 50% there’s gonna be trouble. Glad I sold AAPL when I did.

      1. @drewux Ha! I sold mine just last week (kept 1 share) but it had nothing to do with this. I’m using the money to put down on a house. 🙂

  13. Only a moron in a hurry, piloting an aircraft would use a free map app on a smart phone.  Pilots have real navigation maps as well as complete listings of all airports, services provided, coordinates, runway specs, tower details, etc.  I can’t see any pilot, pulling out their smart phone to use the turn-by-turn navigation aid meant for cars driving down the hi-way.  It’s questionable whether any in-range cell towers could connect quickly enough to transmit any data.  Cell towers have a 1-mile radius & traveling at speeds > 100 mph would allow connections for a few seconds if at all
    Cheers !

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).