Earlier this year, a detailed comparison between Google Maps and Apple Maps showed just how far Google’s mapping data was when compared to Apple. While it was always known that Apple Maps was inferior to Google Maps, the comparison showed just how hilariously behind Apple Maps was.
More than six months later, a new comparison between Google Maps and Apple Maps shows similar results. A detailed comparison from Justin Beirne shows that Google has been making rapid changes to Google Maps over the last year while Apple Maps, in comparison, had very little changes and looks largely the same as it did a year ago. What’s impressive is that Google has been adding details to Maps for towns with a population of 1,000 or even lower, while Apple Maps has remained largely unchanged for such towns. Google has updated its data to show buildings in even such small towns, while Apple Maps completely misses out on them except for in major U.S. states.
In areas where both mapping services have buildings, the ones from Google’s have much more details. You can even make out the number of satellite dishes, HVAC systems and the design of some homes just from the data captured by Google Maps. The data captured by Apple Maps completely pales in comparison.
Google manages to achieve this by extracting detailed 3D models using computer vision and through aerial imagery and various algorithms. Google’s technique is so efficient that the company is even able to add buildings to Maps in the United States where its Street View cars are even yet to go.
Interestingly, the comparison also shows that Apple is far behind Google in terms of adding Areas of Interest (AOIs) to its maps. Google uses a more efficient and smarter method where it is able to extract building data from its satellite imagery, while Apple does not do anything similar. This allows Google to add far more AOIs than Apple. As for the Cupertino company, it seems to be relying on TomTom to add building data to Maps which is clearly not sufficient.
Overall, the mapping data that Google has will give it a huge advantage once self-driving cars become a reality. As for Apple, the company is far behind Google in the mapping area, with its techniques not being particularly effective as well.
At this point, there is little reason for one to use Apple Maps over Google Maps. Hopefully, Apple also realises how far behind its maps are to Google and it allows iOS users to set Google Maps as their default navigation app.[Via Justin Beirne]