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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. I recently drove from Raleigh, NC to DC to give a talk. I had been having trouble with Maps on a previous trip and spent 4 hous on the phone with Apple Support backing up my iPhone 6 to the cloud, then doing a clean reinstall.

    On the trip, I decided to take my 6 yr old (low tier) Garmin unit for comparison. The iPhone6 screen is maybe ¼ larger.

    On the way up, Maps gave many more voice prompts in English I could understand (Siri). Garmin gave fewer prompts, but accurate, in a robot voice I could barely understand.

    Garmin showed all the lanes and exit numbers in the highway with arrows when I needed to take an exit or turn. Apple showed intersections but no lanes.

    The Garmin GUI showed big brightly colored text for miles, exits, directions (guessing ~36 point) and map features. Maps showed ~36 point for miles only and everything else unreadable (~6 pt). The Maps colors and density were pale, with wrong readability choices throughout (thanks Jonny). For example, the large Garmin text was white over a dark green background. Very readable in bright sunlight on top of the dash. The Maps text was black letters over a white background, barely readable under the cowling of the dash out of direct sunlight.

    Bottom line. The Maps GUI excelled at voice prompts and understandability. The Garmin GUI excelled at everything visual. The voice prompts alerted you to intersections and the visual guided you.

  6. For off-peak traffic, non-critical mapping I prefer the simplicity and the ease of tapping of Apple Maps vs. Google Maps. But when I absolutely have to get to my destination on time, during peak traffic hours I only trust Waze. Whenever I use Google Maps I am frustrated by a lack of intuitiveness and straightforward operation. Plus I like the way Apple Maps visualizes and verbalizes directions much better than Google Maps. Been a long time since Apple Maps gave me bad or no directions.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.