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Apple Maps outs secret military site, irks Taiwan

The island's defense ministry was reportedly a bit grumpy when it saw a photo of a secret radar base downloaded via an iPhone 5.

Zoom in on this satellite view in Apple Maps and you reportedly see more than Taiwan's government would like.
Screenshot by CNET

The Apple Maps team can't seem to catch a break. The glitches with the new Maps app that Cupertino home-brewed for iOS 6 have been serious enough that even Mad Magazine is having a laugh about the fiasco.

More serious is the grumpy face Taiwan's Defense Ministry made when it saw a satellite image of one of its top-secret long-range radar bases that had been accessed with an iPhone 5.

Agence France-Presse reports that the Apple Maps image of the site in the northern county of Hsinchu was re-printed in the Liberty Times newspaper, prompting a statement from the ministry, which says it will ask Apple to lower the resolution of the images. The Defense Ministry's spokesman says it's also asked Google to blur secret military installation locations on Google Earth in the past.

The geopolitics of the situation is a bit touchy, since China still sees Taiwan as part of the mainland, and Apple and the U.S. government both have er... complicated relationships with both countries.

These are the sorts or issues that Google already has years of experience with. Back in 2010, Google Maps caused an international incident over where it placed the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. There were similar flare-ups between Thailand and Cambodia and elsewhere.

So, Apple has some learning and catching up to do in all those touchy areas where Maps serve as a symbol of humanity's ongoing arguments. While it's at it, it might be a good idea to get the location of Apple's own store in Sydney right, too.