- US bases also appear on the service in high resolution
- Google has ‘muzzed’ or distorted military installations
By Mark Prigg
PUBLISHED:14:51 EST, 9 October 2012| UPDATED:15:03 EST, 9 October 2012
After facing huge criticism for blurred maps, Apple has received an unusual request – to make its maps MORE blurry.
The technology giant came under fire for the poor quality of its maps after users found missing locations, areas obscured by cloud and even distorted bridges and roads.
However, Taiwanese officials found the maps too accurate – and have Apple to blur satellite images of sensitive military installations which are freely available to iPhone 5 users.
Part of Hsinchu in Taiwan on Apple’s maps – Apple has been asked to removed imagery of a secret base in the area.
APPLE’S MAP WOES
After widespread criticism of its maps app, Apple boss Tim Cook was forced to make an embarrassing public apology over the firm’s flawed maps software.
The company even changed the text on their website and no longer describes their problematic map application as ‘the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever’.
The defence ministry reacted after the Liberty Times newspaper printed a satellite picture, downloaded with an iPhone 5, showing a top-secret long-range radar base in the northern county of Hsinchu.
‘Regarding images taken by commercial satellites, legally we can do nothing about it,’ the ministry’s spokesman David Lo told reporters.
‘But we’ll ask Apple to lower the resolution of satellite images of some confidential military establishments the way we’ve asked Google in the past,’ he said, referring to the Google Earth programme.
Apple has not yet received a formal request, according to Bravo, a Taiwan PR company handling its media relations.
It declined to speculate how Apple would respond to a request.
The Hsinchu base houses a cutting-edge long-range radar procured from the United States in 2003.
Construction of the radar is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The ultra-high-frequency radar, supplied by US defence group Raytheon, is capable of detecting missiles launched as far away as Xinjiang in China’s northwest, military officials say.
They say the radar, which cost Tw$36 billion ($1.23 billion and £769,000), is designed to give Taiwan minutes of extra warning in case of a Chinese missile attack.
Taiwanese experts estimate China currently has over 1,600 ballistic missiles aimed at the island. The number appears to have continued to rise despite improved relations since 2008 when Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party became Taiwan’s president.
Beijing still sees the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though Taiwan has governed itself since 1949 at the end of a civil war.
Apple’s view of Colchester (left) is shrouded in cloud, while Google (right) has a clear view. The firm was initially derided for its poor maps – now the Taiwanese government has complained they are TOO accurate
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