Apple Maps to be Rebuilt ‘From the Ground Up’ With First-Party Data

Apple Maps has been improving at a pretty quick pace since its rough launch several years ago, but there is still plenty of room for improvements.

Apple is apparently aware of this, thankfully, and, as reported by TechCrunch on Friday, the company has decided to make some major changes to address the complaints for its mapping service. Specifically, Apple is looking to use its first-party data to rebuild Apple Maps “from the ground up” with a bigger focus on real-time information relating to traffic, construction, road systems, pedestrian walkways, and more.

The changes will actually see the light of day sooner rather than later, with San Francisco getting the attention first in the next seed of the iOS 12 beta. Northern California will then get support later this fall, with a wider rollout planned over the next year.

“It’s doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones with a privacy-first methodology and its own fleet of cars packed with sensors and cameras. The new product will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next iOS 12 Beta and will cover Northern California by fall.

Every version of iOS will get the updated maps eventually and they will be more responsive to changes in roadways and construction, more visually rich depending on the specific context they’re viewed in and feature more detailed ground cover, foliage, pools, pedestrian pathways and more.”

Apple’s own Eddy Cue says that, based on the direction they wanted to take Maps, and the features they wanted to implement, they figured the best way to handle it was with their own data collection:

“We decided to do this just over four years ago. We said, ‘Where do we want to take Maps? What are the things that we want to do in Maps? We realized that, given what we wanted to do and where we wanted to take it, we needed to do this ourselves,’ says Cue.”

Apple’s goal continues to be to handle all of the aspects with Maps, including user privacy and quality — as is par for the course with Apple in general.

The changes will start to see the light of day, but it sounds like a wide release is still a ways off.

Our Take

I try to use Apple Maps first as often as I can. I like the layout better than Google Maps — even if I can admit that Google’s offering is still better at most things. These changes sound great, but that’s a long time to wait.

Do you use Apple Maps at all?

[via TechCrunch]