Officials in Norway have confirmed that they have refused to allow Apple to take aerial photographs of Oslo for its Maps app, which shows images in 3D.

For security reasons, anyone who wants to fly over the capital and take pictures must obtain a licence from the authorities. Norway’s National Security Authority said that although it had concerns over security, it would be possible for Apple to obtain the data elsewhere if it wanted.


The local newspaper Aftenposten first reported the news and said that the officials were worried about the public having detailed access to images of government buildings.

These tighter measures come after Anders Breivik planted a bomb outside goverment premises in Oslo and then carried out a killing spree on an island 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 said.

“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 get higher definition pictures from a plane.”

A spokeswoman from Norway’s National Security Authority said that although Apple were denied permission to take the photographs, alternative ways have been suggested to the tech company.

“One way would be to contact a Norwegian supplier who already has a licence. Another way would be to just buy the needed mapping from the Norwegian Mapping Authority,” she said.

For example, the Norwegian navigation website company Gule Sider have been allowed to take aerial photgraphs in the past but there are some gaps in the content.

The Aftenposten newspaper pointed out that Norway is not the only country to impose these restrictions. For example premises such as the US Department of Defense or the CIA headquarters at Langley are currently not available on Apple’s Maps in 3D.

[Image via Use-It Oslo]