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Apple Maps being rebuilt using Apple’s own data

Apple Maps being rebuilt using Apple’s own data

Apple Maps is already around six years old, but back when it made its debut in 2012, it had to go through lots of issues and even criticism from casual consumers and hardcore tech enthusiasts. While it is true that the navigation service and mobile mapping app has since huge leaps in improvement, it appears that Apple is still not content.

This must be why, as reported by TechCrunch, Apple is looking to radically reimagine its Maps brand, and is even willing to rebuild the service from scratch. The idea this time around is to deliver better, more accurate and more specific maps that are combined with enhanced navigation details. It goes without saying that Apple wants to do everything right this time.

There are signs that Apple is taking first few steps in the right direction -- for instance, it has chosen to create its own in-house mapping data, as opposed to the previous set up wherein they had to rely on information provided by Open Street Maps and TomTom. What the tech giant did was to create the so-called base maps initially. This step should establish the foundation of a navigation app, and then as the building process progresses, Apple will then continue to reinforce the data with high resolution satellite data.

Obviously, the whole thing (which is basically going back to square one) involves a lot of data collection. Apple has been taking full advantage of mapping vans for three years now -- these vans do the dirty work of gathering high quality 3D data from the streets, as well as taking care of the panoramic photography (a la StreetView by Google). Apple has even set up a web page that tracks the whereabouts of the vans across the globe. Of course, the company is also making sure to painstakingly edit the images taken in order to protect the privacy of pedestrians and vehicle owners.

Apple is also planning to conduct other data gathering activities for the purpose of enhancing live road and traffic information, plus accurate details on pedestrian routes. It seems that the redesigned Apple Maps will be making full use of a vector system (which records a user’s direction and speed), and will not save the entire route taken by a user. The objective is to gather anonymous information on specific parts of a journey, as opposed to recording the whole trip.

An upgraded version of Apple Maps will be deployed next month, as part of the iOS 12 Beta. But it is possible that the update navigation data will only focus on certain American cities, perhaps even only in the state of California initially.