When Apple launched Maps with iOS 6 last year, the service was readily and immediately criticized by seemingly everyone. And it was warranted: businesses were misplaced, directions were wrong, and stuff was just flat out missing. People tend to forgive mistakes when they’re minor and infrequent. But Maps was overflowing with them. It was, in the beginning, a disaster.
For one guy named Peder Norrby, the glitch-addled service was actually something quite beautiful. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So Norrby started taking screenshots; and more, and more and more. His collection, as you can see, highlights how wrong Apple’s Flyover effect works in some places. But that’s not such a bad thing, according to Norrby.
A graphics software engineer by trade, Norrby understands the difficulty involved with such a service, so his intentions aren’t to point out its flaws, but to show how reality can be shaped and bent in the digital landscape. City blocks literally melt, while buildings turn into concrete waterfalls. One shot of a theme park roller coaster looks like a wax candle had been left out in the sun.
Norrby explains that Apple’s mapping software has to render 3D geometrics from 2D data. As you (and many people) can plainly see, the software doesn’t always return the desired results. They’re hilarious in their own awful way. But they’re also interesting when looked at under a certain lens.
“That is really hard to do, especially for complex shapes,” Norrby said about Apple’s service. “I think they are actually doing a great job! But sometimes errors happen… I like the idea of looking at an error as something good or at least interesting.”
So while Apple continues to improve upon its mapping initiative—there will be a standalone app for OS X Mavericks—its flaws will be documented for the sake of posterity. And because, even though they’re mistakes, they are kind of beautiful in a Salvador Dalí kind of way.