Apple Maps to Be Rebuilt 'From the Ground Up' With Street-Level and Satellite Data Over the Next Year
Apple today announced that it will be rebuilding its Maps app “from the ground up” with street-level data collected from its fleet of Apple Maps vehicles, in addition to high resolution satellite imagery.
TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzarino has published an in-depth overview of the changes coming to Apple Maps, which will be available in the San Francisco area starting with the next iOS 12 beta next week, cover all of Northern California by this fall, and roll out across the rest of the United States over the next year.
In short, Panzarino says Apple Maps will see significant improvements as it relates to traffic, real-time road conditions, road systems, new construction, changes in pedestrian walkways, and more. To accomplish this, Apple will be switching to its own base maps, rather than relying on third parties like TomTom.
Panzarino spoke in detail about the changes with Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue, who oversees Apple Maps, Apple vice president of engineering Patrice Gautier, and over a dozen Apple Maps team members:
“Since we introduced this six years ago — we won’t rehash all the issues we’ve had when we introduced it — we’ve done a huge investment in getting the map up to par,” said Cue. “When we launched, a lot of it was all about directions and getting to a certain place. Finding the place and getting directions to that place. We’ve done a huge investment of making millions of changes, adding millions of locations, updating the map and changing the map more frequently. All of those things over the past six years.”
“We wanted to take this to the next level,” says Cue. “We have been working on trying to create what we hope is going to be the best map app in the world, taking it to the next step. That is building all of our own map data from the ground up.”
More from Cue:
“We don’t think there’s anybody doing this level of work that we’re doing,” adds Cue. “We haven’t announced this. We haven’t told anybody about this. It’s one of those things that we’ve been able to keep pretty much a secret. Nobody really knows about it. We’re excited to get it out there. Over the next year, we’ll be rolling it out, section by section in the US.”
Cue’s notion that nobody really knew about these plans is debatable, as its Apple Maps vehicles have been a telltale sign since 2015, the same year Mark Gurman reported that Apple would switch to its own base map by 2018.
More details to follow…
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