Has Apple Maps closed the gap with Google Maps?

“Perhaps the biggest surprise about Apple’s new map is how small it is,” Justin O’Beirne blogs eponymously. “Four years in the making, it covers just 3.1% of the U.S.’s land area and 4.9% of its population.”

“But don’t let its size fool you — it’s a dramatically different map from before, with a staggering amount of vegetation detail,” O’Beirne writes. “But what’s really remarkable about this new vegetation detail it how deep it all goes — all the way down to the strips of grass and vegetation between roads. And inside of cloverleafs. And even around the corners of homes.”

“All of those different shades of green are different densities of trees and vegetation that Apple seems to be extracting out of its imagery. But Apple isn’t just extracting vegetation—Apple seems to be extracting any discernible shape from its imagery,” O’Beirne writes. “The new map also has building footprints it didn’t have before. And in addition to adding new building footprints, Apple is also upgrading many of the old ones — including most of San Francisco… The perimeters of Apple’s buildings are now more precise than Google’s.”

“Regardless of how Apple is creating all of its buildings and other shapes, Apple is filling its map with so many of them that Google now looks empty in comparison,” O’Beirne writes. “But only within the 3.1% of the U.S. where the new map is currently live.”

Tons more, including many before and after images, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Betteridge’s law of headlines remains intact, but Google had better watch their backs over the long run as Apple’s new Maps look better and more precise.

Apple has been rebuilding Maps from the ground up for years and it’s due to launch very soon – June 29, 2018


  1. I live in Portland, Oregon and Apple Maps is pretty accurate within the city limits but not so when out in the country or visiting small towns. Google Maps for me is usually spot on. For example, a couple of weeks ago I went to visit a friend in Trout Lake, WA but Apple Maps was off by 16 miles with her address. I had to switch to Google Maps which ended up spot on.

    1. Looking to buy a house and usually Google is about a mile off for the markers on the addresses. Throw it into Apple maps and usually dead on. I think I had one where it was off with Google.

      1. I have a similar experience out here. My house is from the early 1880s, 3 miles from the nearest paved road. Google is short by 2 miles, missing all the curves in the road, and Apple goes past my house nearly a mile, but at least you’d see my house before giving up.

  2. We need a maps.apple.com site to use it and they need to do what I said they need to do with it that would blow google away. Curious to see if they ever do it!

  3. I care very little how pretty or ultra-precise buildings are. I care a great deal that the mapping application provides comprehensive and relevant data and, unfortunately, Apple continues to fall short of Google in this regard. Not sure of the solution, but I wish I could get Apple’s privacy protections and a massive dataset like Google has. Also, businesses that don’t make the effort to update their info on Apple/Google maps… 😖

  4. Just tried to use Apple Maps in Portland last week. Once again, was sent on a wild goose chase. Switched to using Google Maps after get misdirected by Apple Maps and I made it to my location perfectly.

    I always try Apple Maps first, but invariably it seems I end up using Google Maps to get myself out of trouble. Very frustrating, but I’m keeping the faith.

  5. A very interesting article that makes it painfully clear that Apple is skating to where the puck used to be (improved(?) map with little connection to other Apple services) while Google is aiming at a larger target that supports other current and future Google services.

    1. To clarify, I am talking about trip planning vs. just having one destination and adding pit stop. I just read on line that pitstops can be added, and I didn’t even know that, but it would be nice to have a trip planner that would provide for multiple destinations, etc. without having to just do several broken up segments without the continuity.

  6. I was using Apple Maps to plot travel routes but was becoming frustrated try to follow the roads en-route .. precisely because there were too many buildings and other details cluttering the basic roadmap. Switched back to Google Maps and immediately understood that sometimes less is better.

  7. In the areas surrounding where I live there are countless inaccuracies, including assigning my home to a village 10 miles away. I have seen this with many other addresses in the area – assigning the address to villages 50 miles away. It is awful. I have given up asking Apple for updates. I have tried many times a year, every year since Apple Maps was born. No changes, NADA, nothing.

    I love Apple and dislike Google tremendously, but Google’s maps are accurate where I live; Apple’s are not, and they simply don’t care. (How else can I explain their unresponsiveness over so many years?)

  8. Here in China the address doesn’t matter much as it can mean you are still a mile away because that’s only the front gate and you are on your way to the building J. That’s why I always tell people to send their location instead. But why doesn’t Apple provide this function, I always take photos where I go and if I’d like to go back why not just click on the photo and get the directions.

  9. Here is Europe Google Maps tens to fine the faster route while Apple Maps routes via main roads. A good distinction to have. With BOTH maps apps I still need to check the destination the app has found to make sure it is the correct one. In saying that Google tends to be to more accurate.

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