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Given that we reported that Apple had acquired C3 Technologies – a 3D mapping company – last year, we don’t think there has been any doubt that Apple is using C3’s data for iOS 6’s 3D Maps feature. However, we thought it would be interesting to show a comparison of how similar Apple’s implementation is to C3’s web implementation by way of Nokia. Notice the same iPad billboard and the alignment of the cars in the parking lot.

Some interesting things to note:

  • Apple is working with data that is a couple of years old. This can be seen by the billboard being for the original iPad, a product sold and marketing throughout 2010, and only a little bit into 2011.
  • The raw C3 implementation seen through Nokia’s online 3D maps portal (Nokia licensed C3’s data) shows cars in the road. At least in some places, like in the above area, Apple actually removed cars from the road. Though, cars are still present in the shown parking lots. We’re not sure what Apple’s motivation is behind removing cars from some roads, but it may be something procedural like Google blurring out faces and license plates in its Google Maps Street View service.
  • Now that there is no doubt that Apple’s 3D Maps data is straight from C3 Technologies, it is interesting to look at the other cities and regions that C3 has data for in 3D. Apple’s current iOS 6 build features a minimal number of 3D cities. We’ve seen Los Angeles, San Diego, Memphis, Denver, Copenhagen, Montreal, San Francisco and the Bay Area, Las Vegas, Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Miami, Seattle, and Sacramento. While iOS 6 beta is currently showing under 15 cities, we might just be able to get excited about the several other areas that C3 covers including: London, Barcelona, Milan, Prague, Toronto, Venice, Boston, Oslo, and Vienna.

With iOS 6 not scheduled for release until the fall, Apple is likely working on smoothing out C3’s data for other cities. It will be interesting to see how many cities Apple ends up supporting in 3D Flyover mode, and if Apple plans to reach cities even beyond the ones that C3 Technologies recorded data for.

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