“Over the past year, we’ve been comparing Google Maps and Apple Maps in New York, San Francisco, and London — but some of the biggest differences are outside of large cities,” Justin O’Beirne blogs eponymously. “Take my childhood neighborhood in rural Illinois. Here the maps are strikingly different, and Apple’s looks empty compared to Google’s… Perhaps the biggest difference is the building footprints: Google seems to have them all, while Apple doesn’t have any. But it’s not just Apple — no one else seems to have them either.”
“But if we had looked at this same area just a couple years ago, we wouldn’t have seen any buildings on Google’s map,” O’Beirne writes. “The buildings are a new thing, and I’ve been watching Google gradually add them over the past year.”
“But ‘buildings’ is the wrong word to describe what Google’s been adding; it’s more like ‘structures.’ Because not only has Google been adding houses, it’s been adding garages and tool sheds,” O’Beirne writes. “Apple doesn’t even have buildings in parts of the U.S.’s three largest cities… In downtown Los Angeles, Google’s buildings are so detailed that you can sometimes see the blades inside the rooftop fans.”
“Google’s building and place data are themselves extracted from other Google Maps features,” O’Beirne writes. “Google’s buildings are created out of the imagery it gathers for its Satellite View… Google has been using computer vision and machine learning to extract business names and locations from its Street View imagery. In other words, Google’s buildings are byproducts of its Satellite/Aerial imagery. And some of Google’s places are byproducts of its Street View imagery… Google is creating data out of data.”
Read much, much more – including tons of screenshots and other examples – in the full article – highly recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s not just about the data collection, but also what you do with the data. The data is freely accessible to those who wish to spend the time and money to amass it. Using it properly is another thing altogether, but Apple is certainly capable of doing what Google has done/is doing, but does Apple have the will and the focus required to do it?
In terms of “structures,” what Apple Maps offers today is several years behind Google.
It’s all about the dataset. – MacDailyNews, October 4, 2017