3 Rea­sons Why You Should Be Wary of Ap­ple Maps!

PCQuest - - TECH AND TRENDS - — Srini­vasan Viswanathan

In the lat­est iOS 6, Ap­ple has de­cided to aban­don Google’s Maps sup­port in fa­vor of their own pro­pri­etary Ap­ple Maps engine. Ap­ple has been get­ting heavy criticism for the er­rors present in its maps ap­pli­ca­tion. Here are three ma­jor ar­eas it needs im­prove­ment...

From dis­lo­cat­ing the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment to show­ing an en­tire city sub­merged in the Ocean, con­sumers are find­ing Ap­ple Maps com­mit­ting num­ber of blun­ders. We look at ma­jor rea­sons Ap­ple Maps is still an­cient com­pared to Google Maps.

1) Baf­fling amount of in­ac­cu­ra­cies

An Ir­ish min­is­ter ex­pressed dis­be­lief when a farm area in his con­stituency called ‘Air­field’ had been la­belled with an im­age of an aero­plane. Sim­i­larly, many iOS 6 users in var­i­ous coun­tries around the world have re­ported as­tound­ing in­ac­cu­ra­cies in lo­ca­tions. In fact, users have been sub­mit­ting these hi­lar­i­ous blun­ders to a blog, to show­case the state of the ap­pli­ca­tion. Even in In­dia, many ma­jor land­marks are mis-tagged on the map or mis­spelled.

2) Points of In­ter­est

Many users have also com­plained that the level of de­tail on Ap­ple Maps is abysmal, es­pe­cially out­side the US, as many points of in­ter­est are miss­ing. Many busi­nesses have also com­plained that the ef­fort they have put into pro­vid­ing spe­cific in­for­ma­tion about their busi­ness on Google Maps has gone to dust af­ter Ap­ple de­cided to dump Google Maps from their phones. Even in In­dia, many of the cities ren­der at only ba­sic lev­els. So, if you’re big into us­ing maps to find lo­cal points of in­ter­est such as restau­rants, you should not up­grade to iOS 6 right now.

3) Fly­over: Bet­ter Left Un­seen?

Ap­ple in­tro­duced a new fea­ture called Fly­over in their maps ap­pli­ca­tions, which gives users a 3D view of the map. While it is a cool fea­ture, it doesn’t re­ally pro­vide great util­ity value for users try­ing to reach their des­ti­na­tion. More­over, many 3D views of lo­ca­tions ap­pear to be greatly ma­ligned. For ex­am­ple, Ouala Lumpur’s fa­mous Petronas Tow­ers seems to be stuck to the ground like a 2-d paint­ing. Sim­i­larly, users from all over the world have re­ported land­marks to be de­picted very poorly in Ap­ple Maps.

Can Ap­ple Rec­tify This?

Michael W.Dob­son, an ex­pert in map­ping and GIS sys­tems, has been get­ting at­ten­tion on his blog, where he pro­vides a cri­tique of Ap­ple Maps. He says that the “is­sue plagu­ing Ap­ple Maps is not math­e­mat­ics or al­go­rithms, it is data qual­ity. ” Dob­son sug­gests that Ap­ple “need to take a step back and re-en­gi­neer their ap­proach to data fu­sion and map­ping in gen­eral”, as they lack the suf­fi­cient qual­ity nec­es­sary to pro­vide good maps. Ac­cord­ing to him, Ap­ple also lacks the power of crowd­sourc­ing in their maps, and this is one of the key dif­fer­ences which makes Google Maps so rich in con­tent. Hence, they also need to lever­age on the user community or pro­cure a richer data­base to im­prove the qual­ity of Ap­ple Maps.

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