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Oslo, Norway in Apple Maps (No 3D available)

Update: From a 9to5mac Reader in Norway:

Regarding the issues where the Norwegian government is blocking Apple from mapping the capital, Oslo, in 3D: it seems the law that is being sited actually was withdrawn in 2005, but issues with an old computer system in the police department blocks the update from being put to use! http://www.osloby.no/nyheter/Loven-som-hindrer-Apple-a-flyfotografere-Oslo-ble-vedtatt-opphevet-i-2005-7277631.html

Apple is being blocked from capturing 3D, aerial footage of Norway capital Oslo for its iOS and Mac Maps applications, according to Norway-based newspaper Aftenposten. As part of removing Google Maps from iOS, Apple, last year with iOS 6, launched its in-house Maps app with 3D “Flyover” data being a premier feature. Flyover allows users to see a 3D representation of many cities across the globe.

According to today’s report, Norway’s National Security Authority is not allowing Apple from capturing the 3D data needed for the feature. Apple uses small aircraft equipped with advanced camera systems and actually flies them around buildings. The data is then processed at Apple and formatted for the Maps app…

A Norway government official confirmed that it is blocking Apple because it does not want the company potentially mapping out confidential buildings and security measures within Oslo. Aftenposten provides the example of Norway not wanting Apple to film the headquarters of its intelligence teams, a building already banned from photographers.

Because of the ban, Apple is working with the United States Embassy in Norway to resolve the issue. The Embassy is reportedly in contact with Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang. Stang is said to have asked the Norway government’s Defense Minister to re-consider the block against Apple for capturing the 3D data.

Perhaps a solution for Apple and Norway would be for the government to approve which data Apple makes public in the Maps app. Stang reportedly noted that the 3D data is important and relevant:

I think the new apps is very exciting – and they are also relevant for tourists, both those who are here and those who are considering going here. I have therefore asked the minister to look into the possibility of achieving this, while maintaining the security measures but me must consider.

Interestingly, Oslo 3D data was part of the data that C3 Technologies captured. C3 Technologies is the company that Apple acquired in late 2011 to build its 3D mapping database. C3′s data (sans for Oslo and a few other territories) is still present inside of Apple’s Maps apps, making it surprising that Norway allowed C3 to capture the data, but not Apple.

Perhaps certain laws and policies changed between the time C3 captured its data and today. Above is a video from C3 Technologies of Oslo in 3D.

Since launching its Maps app in 2012, Apple has been working to correct many early data errors and increase functionality. Apple is updating its iOS Maps app with a new interface later this year with iOS 7. The company is also expanding Maps to the Mac this fall with OS X Mavericks. Last year, Apple put Eddy Cue, the company’s services head, in charge of improving Maps. In recent months, Apple acquired a few companies to assist in improving data and implementing a thus-far missing transit directions feature.

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9 Responses to “Norwegian government blocking Apple from capturing 3D Flyover Maps data in Oslo”

  1. Wow, no problem in Copenhagen.. wonder what the norwegians think we can see… do they but sticky notes on the windows??

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  2. PS: ‘Apple’ does not do any flying – they BUY the photography from companies that do the flying.
    And they don’t ‘fly around the building’! It’s low pass (3-400 m) arial photography that is put in a computer.. this is not like ‘street view’ you know.. !

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  3. That and the fact that the Norwegian Government is one of the biggest Stock holders of Apple shares makes this all the more confusing…

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  4. digiq says:

    Well, some people in Norway call it “the last communist state”. I wonder why? :)

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  5. joakim97 says:

    I live in Norway and i think this is pretty stupid. Here we have a lot of rules that need to be reconsidered for beeing to strict.

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  6. Laughing_Boy48 says:

    Apple should just leave out all of Oslo on Apple Maps. I could understand if this was a flyover of the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang or the Kremlin in the U.S.S.R, but Oslo, Norway, give me a break. What exactly do they have to hide? Whatever it is, It’s probably already been thoroughly photographed by U.S. military satellites. Google’s probably had cars and people mapping that area inside and out. Did Norway suddenly become a world power? Maybe they’re still living out their glory days as ex-Vikings.

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  7. By some crazy reason, a lot of people here – especially within the government, have gotten a bit more concerned about security after this small incident in Oslo in 2011 … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Norway_attacks.

    Its not the US millitary they are worried about getting maps, its terrorists. (Most likely NATO have been involved in building most of the stuff they want to keep off the maps anyways…)

    Remember – Norway is a small country. Relative to the size of the population, those attacks hit us nearly twice as hard as 9/11 hit the US, and while most of the people killed on 9/11 were adults from NY, 22/7 was mainly KIDS, and spread out from all over the country, so nearly everyone knew someone who lost someone that day.

    But hey, why bother to tighten security after that…

    And NSA? Well, its their job to be paranoid, and if you had tried to get a similar permission in the US not too long after 9/11, there is simply no way in hell you would have gotten it.

    Yeah, I agree – its a bit over the top paranoid and things will probably get back to normal after a few years. They will probably get the permission by making a deal as suggested in the story, where NSA gets to remove the sensitive areas from the data, but they are not paranoid for no reason, they just got a really nasty wake-up-call two years ago. As you can see from the C3 data, getting this sort of permission earlier was no problem at all.

    Actually – you can see the government building that was bombed in the C3 video – at about 0:44 – the terrorist parked the truck with the explosives right outside the main entry, about on the center of the building, seemingly opposite and a little to the right of the helipad (although that really is on the roof of another building). And here is what the area looked like after… http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/22-juli/artikkel.php?artid=10080904

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  8. “Perhaps certain laws and policies changed between the time C3 captured its data and today. Above is a video from C3 Technologies of Oslo in 3D.”

    That has to be the dumbest line ever. Has the author been living beneath a rock for the last couple of years?

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  9. “Interestingly, Oslo 3D data was part of the data that C3 Technologies captured. C3 Technologies is the company that Apple acquired in late 2011 to build its 3D mapping database. C3′s data (sans for Oslo and a few other territories) is still present inside of Apple’s Maps apps, making it surprising that Norway allowed C3 to capture the data, but not Apple.”

    Not really, considering a mass murderer bombed Oslo 22nd July 2011. Clean ups and security measurements are still going on.

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