Apple aerial map photos blocked over Oslo in Norway

Norway’s government is refusing to let Apple take aerial photography of the capital city Oslo to create 3D images for its Maps app, reports local media.

There are security concerns about access to detailed views of government buildings, says newspaper Aftenposten.

Anyone wishing to fly over Oslo to take pictures requires a licence from the authorities, which has been declined according to official documents.

However satellite imagery, as used by other map brands, is not protected.

Nokia has 3D-imagery of Oslo in its maps but only for parts of the city.

Security measures have tightened in Norway since Anders Breivik planted a bomb outside government premises in the capital before carrying out a separate killing spree at a youth camp two years ago.

“There has been a major debate in Norway about security since the shootings – including how secure government offices should be,” Henning Carr Ekroll, a security reporter at national newspaper Aftenposten, told the BBC.

“That applies both to physical security but also to aerial photography.

“The government is unable to do anything about satellite images but you still need permission to fly and you get higher definition pictures from a plane.”

Mr Carr-Ekroll said he had seen official communications sent by the National Security Authority and the city of Oslo about Apple’s request.

Norwegian companies such as navigation website Gule Sider have previously been allowed to take aerial pictures but there are gaps in the content available on the site, Mr Carr-Ekroll said.

“If you search for Oslo you won’t get details in particular areas. But they did take photos from aeroplanes,” he said.

“It’s easier for Norwegian operators to get licences because [the ministry] can have more control over the photos.”

Aftenposten points out that neither the US Department of Defense in Arlington or the CIA headquarters at Langley are currently available in 3D on Apple’s maps.

A spokesman for Apple was unable to provide comment at this time.