Apple hints at Maps data-collection project taking place in New York

“Apple has for a long time hired engineers around the globe to contribute to making its Maps experience better,” Jordan Kahn reports for 9to5Mac.

“While positions for its team outside Cupertino usually consist of Maps Quality Analysts and Ground Truth managers that submit region specific corrections for Maps, a new job listing on Apple’s website hints at a ‘data-collection project’ planned for New York,” Kahn reports. “It’s the first to hit Apple’s site mentioning the data-collection project and specifically hiring for a Maps team based in New York.”

Kahn reports, “What data exactly is Apple collecting through its new data-collection project is anyone’s guess, but it does have a handful of new mapping features headed for upcoming iOS releases that come to mind.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Lynn Weiler” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

20 Comments

    1. I have to hand it to Google for being smart enough and insightful enough to buy Where 2 Technologies and Keyhole, who wrote what became Google Maps and Google Earth. I was listening this morning to David Pogue praising Google Maps as the single greatest app ever created. He has a point. Apple has clearly taken on the challenge to better it. So far so good IMHO.

      1. I was traveling in Northern Thailand recently, using both Apple maps and Google maps. When looking for a specific location such as a hotel or other building, Apple maps almost never knew of it. Google maps almost always did.

        However, well over half the time Google maps had it in the wrong place, sending us on sometimes laughable journeys through one lane roads in rural Thailand, only to “arrive” with the destination nowhere in sight.

        It’s hard to declare a winner there. Apple maps at least was honest and admitted it had no idea, while Google maps sometimes got us to the site, but often sent us on a wild goose chase instead.

        A big downside to Google maps is that it was all too easy to accidentally touch the ad at the bottom of the screen, and more than once instead of going to our destination we were unwittingly traveling to the location of the advertiser. Not surprisingly that was extremely annoying. With some practice that occurred less often, but it was always a mistake just waiting to happen.

        I did make a point of entering each discovered location in Apple maps, which not only then allowed us to subsequently use the much more pleasant Apple maps for that location. Presumably it also helps improve their mapping just a little bit.

        1. Apple’s “report problem” in Maps is part of the problem.

          An entire bridge opened near us a few weeks ago. Google Maps already has it and it’s integrated into their directions. Apple Maps still detours you almost 10 miles if you want to get from end of the bridge to the other.

          How do you report a missing street? Missing location: no, that’s for actual addresses and businesses. Street or Label incorrect? No that’s the fix *existing* items. So we’re stuck with “My problem is not listed” which’ll get buried in a huge pile of reports to check out.

          What does Google Maps have? Their reporting system is actually only slightly better… but they have a whole Google Maps Maker website that lets you add roads and location information yourself!

            1. That’s assuming the problems you encountered were all user additions in the first place, instead of (for example) mathematically placed based on street number.

              I only looked at Google Maps Maker quickly but you have to be logged in to make changes. I imagine your account’s trustworthiness would be downgraded if many of your changes are later flagged as inaccurate by others.

            2. They didn’t have the correct street, let alone the street number. and which places they did or did not have was unpredictable, as it would be if people were entering the places they happened to be aware of, and not some automated systemic approach.

              Whatever the source, Google had not properly vetted them. So I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

    2. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
      Apple is still getting its butt kicked by Google Maps.

      Example: Compare the intersection of routes 419 and 501 in Pennsylvania. Google Maps has it right; Apple has it wrong.

      1. Previous problems in my neck of the woods have all been addressed. Be sure to submit a report to Apple, they seem to be fixing this stuff much quicker now.

        I’d say Apple Maps is no where near getting it’s butt kicked based on one intersection. It’s been working wonderfully for me on iPhone & iPad here in SoCal anyplace I care to go.

  1. Apple still has satellite shots that are over three years old for many areas in my neck of the woods, not to mention some places (like lakes) mis-named.

    The app is nice.
    The info is dated.

    1. Satellite imagery latency is a matter of expense. Yes, Apple (and others) could buy very recent (not live as it’s not currently available) imagery from DigitalGlobe, SpotImage and such, but the cost would be outrageous. It’s much more cost effective for them to buy one or two year old imagery and use that. If they are using two year old imagery and updating it on a rolling basis, the imagery in the Maps App could be up to four years old before it is updated with the “new” two year old imagery. It’s just the way it is.

      People have been proclaiming in recent weeks that Google will use the new 0.31 meter imagery from DigitalGlobe’s new WorldView 3 satellite that launched yesterday to provide a whole new quality in their maps. It won’t be happening soon. Organizations willing to pay high prices for imagery will get their images for quite some time before Google, Apple, or any of the other map app makers (Mapquest, etc.) get their imagery at a much cheaper price.

      1. I hate to say it, but I find very few Google mistakes in their satellites/maps compared to Apple’s.

        And yes, that is aggravating….
        (I average about 1,000 miles of travel per week)

  2. Apple Maps is not as good as Google Maps. Period. They have a long way to go to get parity.

    They have made great strides since its introduction. They continue to make great strides in its evolution. Maybe some time in the not too distant future they will have parity.

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