WHAT IS THE STATE OF APPLE MAPS IN 2018?
The new Apple Maps has been in the works since 2014, when Apple started developing new data-gathering systems in anticipation of the challenge. O’Beirne notes that, at the moment, the new Maps covers merely 3.1% of the United States’ land area and 4.1% of the country’s population. However, he declares that many details within this small space “create the impression that Apple hasn’t just closed the gap with Google – but has, in many ways, exceeded it...”
What exactly does he mean? He points to a “staggering amount of vegetation detail”, while cities including San Jose and Sacramento “are also noticeably more green”. These improvements are particularly striking in smaller cities at a further distance from the Bay Area, such as Crescent City. Of the new vegetation detail, O’Beirne remarks on “how deep it all goes - all the way down to the strips of grass and vegetation between roads”, “inside of cloverleafs” and “around the corners of homes”.
Google Maps, by contrast, is currently bereft of this level of what O’Beirne terms “houseresolution vegetation detail”. Neither can you see it in the mapping offerings of TomTom, Waze or Bing – a great testament to how effectively Apple has established itself as a digital mapmaker. Highresolution satellite imagery is a key component of the new Apple Maps and like Google, Apple appears to be algorithmically extracting details from such imagery and placing them on its map.