Apple acquires Mapsense

“Apple’s steady stealth campaign to rival Google in maps continues apace,” Mark Bergen and Dawn Chmielewski report for Re/code.

“This month, the company acquired Mapsense,” Bergen and Dawn report, “a San Francisco startup that builds tools for analyzing and visualizing location data, according to multiple sources.”

Bergen and Dawn report, “Apple paid somewhere between $25 million and $30 million for the Mapsense 12-person team, which will now join the Cupertino company, according to two sources.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time. 😉

One thing Apple will have a difficult time buying: Respect for their Maps app, no matter how superior it gets over all others (and many parts of it already are – and even were at launch). It’s unfortunate, but first impressions were so badly botched by Apple (a simple “beta” tag would have sufficed) that it will take a sustained herculean effort to reverse the public misperception of Maps as inferior to Google Maps.

Apple buys online transit-navigation service HopStop – July 20, 2013
Apple escalates maps war by nabbing Locationary – July 19, 2013
Apple acquires crowdsourced location data company Locationary – July 19, 2013
Google’s new 3D Maps destroy Manhattan with melting buildings and buckled streets – May 22, 2013
U.S. patent application reveals Apple is working on ‘Street View’ mapping technology – April 4, 2013
Apple acquires indoor location company WifiSLAM for $20 million – March 23, 2013


    1. unfortunately there IS old data. I wanted a satellite image of the USS Iowa in Los Angeles harbor. The image in Apple Maps showed neither the ship nor the renovations to the dock area. Had to jump to Google Maps to get a current image.

    2. To be fair, TomTom itself is using that old data, as demonstrated in their online routing tool. My city has several road closures for the next few years, started a couple months ago, but Tomtom and Apple Maps still show those roads as open and will route you straight through the closed road, instead of the detour they built (which also doesn’t appear in Tomtom/Apple).

      There is literally no way to effectively report this in the Maps app. “Problem not listed” is too generic… and since Apple still relies on Tomtom, it seems pointless to report this through Apple’s Maps anyway.

      1. I believe you. Google Maps failed me in San Francisco’s Chinatown district of all places. Apple Maps simply worked for me.

        I don’t understand the comment of the writer. First impressions? People who weren’t iPhone users when Scott Forstall botched the launch of Maps. Over time, Apple Maps became just as good as Google’s in many respects. Digging up the past and reminding people about the Maps launch fiasco isn’t helpful and comes out as bitter, bitchy and immature.

  1. What I remember is Apple Maps giving me an accurate time estimate for a path through Canada, while Google Maps’ estimate had zero time for the border crossings and would have required me to be speeding over the limit the entire trip.

    1. It seems like Google Maps’ algorithms or whatever require some tweaking to account for customs processing. I wonder, does Apple’s Maps take such bottlenecks into account? It would, I think, be equivalent to any other crowdsourced traffic slowdown, such as the Bayshore Freeway on a game day.

      What I remember is that on one family reunion trip to the SF Bay Area, Google Maps got us through the traffic but was obtusely indifferent to the location of our gathering place, a certain well-regarded Chinese restaurant. We managed to find the place by ourselves, and a good time was had by all. We laughed and joked about all the other, presumably less authentic Chinese restaurants that, desperate to attract more diners, had PAID Google to include little pop-up enticements in their point-of-interest map feature. — Over a pile of lobster shells, we concluded that Google is evil. We speculated that, on a map of the Arabian Desert, they might obscure a life-saving oasis if the bedouians refused to pay for a marker.

  2. MDN eventually just has to park this crybaby botch story every time Maps is mentioned and just move on. Apple Maps has been getting better and better. Once the transit information is rolled out completely, I’m looking forward to finally deleting the app from the spying pricks google maps.

    1. Agreed. That’s exactly what I think every time that MDN plays the “Apple should have tagged it with beta” card. Give it up, MDN. There is no perpetual taint except in your collective head. I use Apple Maps a lot – I go to it first, before other options, and it seldom fails me. In many cases Apple Maps works better that Google and it is also much faster. Apple is continuing to improve Apple Maps and I believe that more and more people will use it.

      1. One might have expected MDN to relent after Tim Cook fired their brilliant and charismatic engineer Scott Forstall as a sacrifice to the punditry. That was widely understood at the time by some as punishment for Maps, by others as martyrdom in the interest of unification of Apple’s mission as Tim saw it, by removing internal philosophical and social obstacles.

        But MDN is not relenting, but seemingly obsesses over lost glory because of such purported marketing blunders. It does seem tired, since Apple has made up lost ground since then, and especially since “Mapgate” as an attack meme in the blogosphere has faded, the same way “Fifty-four Forty or Fight” has faded.

    2. In the majority of articles, Apple Maps is explicitly or implicitly treated as second rate vs. Google Maps. The reason for this is Apple’s botched launch. MDN is entirely correct. Apple Maps will take years to recover from what could have been prevented with a simple beta tag. Apple blew it. And heads rolled because of it.

  3. Most users don’t even know who is supplying their Maps They just use what comes preloaded.

    Past problems with Apple Maps is no longer an issue (would be if those problems had not been fixed).

    Which is better: Google Map or Apple Map? I have no idea because I haven’t found a need to switch from the default (I use Macs, iPhone and iPads, all with the most current softwares) to something else.

  4. Maps I’ve used exclusively since it was in beta. Sure I had a couple issues in beta, and one more still after general release, but I have had no problems with it ever sense, and have even been surprised at how quickly it accounts for new clad construction. It’s phenomenal. People talking crap about it (…still?! Seriously?!) clearly just haven’t used it.

    1. Road** not clad. Maybe we should be complaining about the terrible changes in autocorrect since iOS 8. It seems to have gotten a whole lot worse than maps when it used to be great. But nobody talks about that with any seriousness.

  5. Simple fact for me, is Apple Maps is silly until it offers an option to “avoid tolls”. Most things near me are faster, cheaper and easier to get to when avoiding the toll road, but Apple Maps won’t even offer those options as alternate routes. Heck, it offers several, out of my way options to get on the toll road just to get to work each day. Seems like a simple thing to add, and I’ll stick with Google Maps until Apple Maps does it.

  6. iPhone user since day one here and I have used both mapping apps in multiple cities ever since we had both available.
    The winner is still Google Maps but Apple is coming on strong. It will take some Herculean effort on Apple’s part to close the gap completely.

    – Major roads that are not divided are rendered the same size as little side roads. Following a rural route is often a nightmare.
    – Maps’ near-useless Flyover ‘feature’ is no match for street view, period.
    – No Interstate exit numbers STILL.
    – Google shows building outlines and parking lots, breaks out floors and even shows rooms in museums and larger buildings. Apple Maps gives you one little colored dot in a blank space and leaves you to figure it out for yourself or switch to satellite view.
    Go ahead, look at Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Compare the two.
    – Google’s search is far and away superior, if you spell something slightly wrong in Apple Maps it has no clue.
    – I’ll be very fair and say yes, sometimes Apple gets it right and Google gets it wrong, but the opposite is the case mostly.

    I will be thrilled when I can dump Google maps for good, but that is not today.

  7. I’m still waiting for

    1) Bicycling navigation
    2) Lane guidance for car navigation
    3) Transit information that is complete
    4) Direct me to the correct location, instead of the wrong location.

  8. I forgot about that botched Apple Maps rollout. Thanks MDN for reminding me… again.

    Outside of those who follow Apple and the Apple news and rumor sites, does anyone seriously think that the majority of the general public iPhone users think Apple Maps will always be a second rate product solely because its rollout was less then stellar and Tim had to apologize for Apple not being Apple? Besides Map-gate, or Bend-gate or Antenna-gate, etc. Heck, I’ve only have Apple products for my computing needs since day one but I don’t give Apple’s rollout of Apple Maps a second thought. I can barely remember what I had for dinner three nights ago. It’s just not that important for the Keeping up with the Kardashian, selfie taking, Facebook crowd.

  9. mapsense is a company that works in the location intelligence space. it helps you mapping data and visualizing it so you can analyze it. Interestingly last week a company called CartoDB was funded by Accel (investors in Dropbox, Spotify, Facebook…). These guys have received more money than what Apple paid for mapsense. Clearly there is something going on in this space.

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