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Norway is barring Apple from taking 3D images of its Oslo buildings out of fear for national security.
The country’s National Security Authority told the Cupertino company that it is not allowed to fly over Oslo to take 3D images, a feature now available in Apple’s Maps App. In order to show a 3D representation of cities around the world, the company must physically fly its mapping technology around the building it wishes to capture.
National Security Authority director Øyvind Mandt told local paper Aftenposten that he is concerned Apple will inadvertently reveal sensitive security features associated with critical buildings in the city. For example, the country’s intelligence operations building is located in Oslo.
A 3D representation could also show different weaknesses in the country’s safety measures. According to Aftenposten, the United States Embassy is interceding for Apple in an attempt to get the area mapped.
Apple released its Maps App in iOS 6 last year with many bugs, including poor directions and 3D renderings that left bridges falling into waters and highways suddenly becoming cliffs. The company had previously purchased 3D imaging company C3 Technologies to help create the app.
Interestingly, as 9to5 Mac notes, C3 Technologies had previously imaged Oslo. However, Apple may not be allowed to use this data due to a change in policy or data protections since C3 grabbed the images. The U.S. embassy seems to have Oslo mayor Fabian Stang on its side. Stang has said that the 3D mapping might is “very exciting” and might be good for tourism.
Norway isn’t the first to make a request like this, however. Google Maps has excluded certain military and government buildings from its Google Earth product for a long time.
hat tip 9to5 Mac