How Apple is making Maps much, much better

Jonny Evans for Apple Must:

Apple put a whole lot of love into Maps at WWDC.

Top line features include much more detailed maps, improved road coverage and more detailed land cover and addresses.

To create this, Apple drove 4 million miles in Apple Cars and sent planes into the air to capture huge quantities of highly detailed information. The result? Not only does Apple have its own mapping data, but buildings, roads, and other structures look better and are more accurate.

Look Around is a fantastic feature that delivers smooth as silk transitions between different areas, unlike Google’s really rather clunky Street View. Not only does it work better, but it also lets you explore locations in privacy – which is a Very Good Thing.

Look Around lets you view a street view of the area, and also lets you tap into full-screen to view the area in 360-degree 3D.

MacDailyNews Take: Look Around is quintessentially Apple. It takes something that was done before somewhat clunky, Google’s Street View, and greatly improves upon it! Apple Maps made a horrible first impression, but Apple’s continued hard work is overcoming that unfortunate start and really bolstering Maps’ reputation. Apple Maps is now our go-to app for Maps and directions!

29 Comments

  1. I use Apple Maps almost every day. I recently got a new car and my phone works with Apple Car, and the maps there are… just bad. Primitive, can’t zoom in, doesn’t natively zoom in while giving directions, and the phone itself only displays turn-by-turn. You can’t even use the iPhone itself to zoom into the map! So it is in many ways worse than simply not having your car plugged in. This will hopefully be addressed but for now it is rather dreadful!

    1. You should be able to zoom in with CarPlay already, in iOS 12.

      Just tap the map once and more options appear, among them are
      – speaker on off
      – detail view, overview
      – zoom ( with a visible plus and minus, towards the bottom right)

      Tap the minus plus to zoom in, the minus to zoom out, and do so repeatedly for additional zoom in each direction.

      1. So it takes two taps to zoom a map? Other infotainment garbage in cars might suck too, but for the premium price Apple charges, why isn’t the interface easier and obvious?

        In the era of smudged touchscreens, car controls are getting worse instead of better. Apple isn’t helping either.

  2. It will me ‘magic’ and all the other excessive adjectives you can find for the good ol’ US of A but it’s absolute rubbish here in Australia. Not even a remote distant second choice or option. Google Maps is only choice for Australia. Real world – outside the Cupertino bubble!!!

      1. Sure, as if any MAGA man exists outside the good ole US of A. Melbourne Florida maybe.

        I am here to report that Apple Maps sucks everywhere in Europe. Truly abysmal, especially where mobile connection is spotty. The offline TomTom from 8 years ago worked and looked better.

    1. Oh you mean 10 year old satellite view in some places, 8 year old Streetview (if it’s even available), massive mapping mistakes all over Australia? Yeah, love that, NOT. Apple Maps here is more accurate, will mostly suggest better routes, with much more accurate time estimates. It’s far from perfect, and you still need both (and even then you might still be up sh*t creek without a paddle), but you obviously haven’t used Apple Maps for years, and are happy to ignore Google Maps massive flaws.

    2. Well in UK I rarely go to Google now occasionally to just compare the relative Info/experience but can’t remember the last time I felt any advantage in so doing so increasingly don’t bother any more and only go there when other apps or websites exclusively use Google maps.

  3. My one and only complaint about Waze and Apple Maps. There is one feature that Google Maps has that I can’t seem to enable on either of the other two: Active Alternate Routes. With GM, while driving along, there will be a suggestion for an alternate route quietly suggested on the map itself. It’ll show an alternate route highlighted in gray saying “Similar Time” or “2 minutes slower”. Does anyone know if AM or WZ has similar option?

    1. AM suggests routes proactively as conditions deteriorate along the original one. They aren’t frequent but have always been of help to me. One thing it doesn’t do is suggest a silly detour which may only gain one or two minutes yet require a circuitous route with numerous turns and stoplights. Waze does often suggest a detour when there are slowdowns or accidents but about half of them are of very little time actually saved. Sometimes, though, they are a wonderful benefit and save 30 minutes. In Waze you can touch the bottom screen area and “Routes” should appear. You can then select which of the 3 routes displayed with the minutes each will take, by touching the route.

      1. The last time I used Apple Maps, and I freely admit it’s been many moons, Apple Maps repeatedly proposed alternative routes well AFTER the import turns. Then AM continued to push the seconds-faster route, imploring me to make a U turn on a busy boulevard. This was in a city where I knew the traffic flows. Apparently Apple thought my car made instantaneous Tron turns. Rejecting the alternate nagging to what I knew was a less desired route got tired quick.

        Google isn’t much better. On a recent border crossing, one of my passengers advised to drive miles out of the way to a supposedly faster checkpoint. On her iPhone according to Google, she claimed the alternate crossing had a 15 minute wait. I asked her to check the official webpage, which listed both crossings at about an hour wait. 1.5 hours later we crossed, wasting at least a half an hour.

        As far as I’m concerned, people are such distracted drivers today that even constant Google tracking is garbage data. A good map interface is often more important and Wego Here or Mapquest are as good or better. Much better than AM has been. Just another halfhearted attempt for Apple to copy what half a dozen other companies did quite well 5 years ago.

        1. Realist, I can’t disagree with you regarding those U-turn promptings, especially in prior Apple Map versions. However, I think you’ll find that AM has strengthened functionality in many other areas and its revised routings now are not frequent but almost always very sound time savers. One thing that throws me off is the built-in zooming as you approach an approaching turn/intersection. I glance at the map before the zooming stealthily begins and get an image that shows there is still some fair distance left to travel and then, whoops, it zooms in and I see I’m almost about to “zoom” right past the needed turn. I’m getting more habituated to it but, I’d prefer the scale/scope not be changing radically while I’m looking ahead at traffic. All in all, though, I like AM the most.

  4. I hate the current version of maps that is tied to Siri. I ask for directions to a city in California and it has no idea what I’m asking for.
    -It’s. A. City. In. California.-
    Surely they have a data base with all possible names.

  5. I prefer Apple Maps and it is usually sufficient but the Google dataset is much richer. I switch over to Google Maps only when necessary. Unfortunately, I’ve found neither interface has improved and both have probably become worse with time. Instead of being able to discover functionality in real-time (with a high probability of success), I have to either recall how I did something before or fool around until I can tease the desired action out again. That’s frustrating for the user and a great opportunity for Apple.

  6. Please, make “Get directions” working also if you are on an island and want to go to the continent or on another island. Use boats, ferries, 🚢🚣🚤⛵ 🚠🚁✈️🚉🚇 planes, what ever is or can be be available.

  7. I can’t wait to see a “street view” on AppleMaps. I wish AppleMaps would get Greenway routes for bicycles which would be very useful because that’s what I use to travel around the boroughs of NYC. Google Maps has quite accurate Greenway routes and I’m thankful for that.

  8. Still no preload+offline mode for international travel. Sure the immediate route is cached, but if you deviate from the route there’s no rerouting and you’re SOL.

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