Apple’s 3D recording patent could bring user-generated ‘street views’ to Maps

“Apple was awarded a patent this week for a concept that could allow users to crowd-source street-level, three-dimensional mapping data by simply taking pictures on their iPhones and sharing them with the world,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,624,974 B2, entitled ‘Generating a Three-Dimensional Model Using a Portable Electronic Device Recording,’ to Apple on Tuesday. AppleInsider first detailed the patent, when it was simply a proposed filing, in 2010,” Hughes reports. “The concept describes using a portable device, such as an iPhone, to record video or photos of an area. That collective information could then be used along with other crowd-sourced media to render an object or location in three dimensions.”

Hughes reports, “In this respect, Apple could essentially crowd-source the capturing of street-level images to end users, allowing for thorough and up-to-date information in its Maps application.”

More info, and Apple’s patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related article:
28 new Apple patent filings reveal 3D printer, 3D Maps, EarPod technologies and more – December 26, 2013


  1. Seems to me there is a huge gap between being able to stitch crowd sourced images into street views and making a service out of it that will be useful. You’d end up with 3 million views of Time Square and none local business or home you are trying view. I don’t know… seems like theory that will never see a practical use unless there are more pieces to the puzzle.

    1. All Apple needs to do to get non-Time Square images is to award iTunes credit for every acceptable image (satisfying certain criteria such as image quality, the appropriateness of the location, …).

      Much less expensive than driving spy cars around the place and eaves drop on people at the same time.

  2. Cannot see how crowd sourcing is going to achieve Google-level photo data of country lanes and the like – just what I need on a daily basis and the reason I like Street View.

  3. Apple choose to use arial imagery due to the fact that drones will be used extensively in the future. Lidar can create very detail and accurate framework that later images by user or drone can be be attached to. Cars or the model Google is using is vastly limited and outdated. Apple made a very wise decision and others, including Google, will follow in the near future.

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