A few Apple map related stories have popped up today starting with the departure of early Placebase founder– the mapping company Apple bought back in 2009–  Jaron Waldman. After Apple bought Placebase, Waldman started and lead the Apple Geo team behind the Apple Maps infrastructure and location services on iOS and Mac like MapKit and CoreLocation. He was at Apple up until last month and even filed for numerous Apple mapping patents, but recently left to work at a “new startup” according sources and verified by his LinkedIn page.

As Waldman is on his way out, the Apple Maps team today posted a job listing (via Macrumors) seeking a web UI designer to “design, develop, and maintain complex front-end code for a new secret project.” Unfortunately we don’t get many hints at what the project would consist of, but the job listing adds that the successful applicant would join “a small team working on an advanced web platform upon which many of Apple’s future services will be based.” It is almost like Apple knows the listing will get lots of publicity if it adds ‘secret project’ therefore attracting a wider audience of potential candidates.

Finally, over a year into Apple’s Maps launch, Apple is still getting press for some hiccups it is yet to work out. A couple days ago news broke that Apple’s Maps app was directing drivers in Alaska down a dangerous route across a Fairbanks International Airport runway and taxiway. It’s certainly not the first time that Apple’s Maps app has given dangerous directions to drivers (those lacking common sense anyway) since its controversial launch, and today airport officials confirmed that Apple has disabled directions to the airport until it fixes the directions:

Apple has disabled driving directions to the Fairbanks International Airport after a glitch in its maps app guided drivers to the edge of a runway instead of a terminal, airport spokeswoman Angie Spear said Friday. Two times, drivers continued on and cut across an active runway to reach the terminal. “I wouldn’t describe it necessarily as a fix, they just deactivated the directions,” Spear said.

Spear said now, when someone puts in the airport as their final destination, “a message pops up and says, ‘Directions not available, direction cannot be found between these locations,”‘ she said.

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3 Responses to “Maps roundup: Early Placebase founder leaves for startup, Alaska airport directions disabled, & secret project job listing”

  1. I’m calling ‘maps in the cloud’


  2. Jim Phong says:

    A lot of lies and speculation.
    The Apple Maps work almost perfectly.
    And have many more features than what Google has to offer.


  3. Mark Granger says:

    Apple Maps do have a lot of problems and lose ends but they are still among the best maps for mobile devices. Here are the real problems that Apple Maps need to fix:

    Apple does not know where individual stores and restaurants are located in outdoor malls. Maps directs you to the mall but then drops you off in the parking lot and expects you to drive or walk around and find the store’s address.

    When zooming into the photo map, it shows black tiles until the new image is loaded. If you try to use photo maps while driving and zoomed in, it often shows you black tiles most of the time rather than a lower resolution image like it should. Zoom in too far and all you will see is black tiles in some areas.

    The street map is 2D. You have no sense of the terrain you will be walking between two points in a city like San Fransisco. That could be a major factor when you decide to take a taxi or walk it.

    Offline is awful. Try driving a route in the mountains. As your iOS device loses cell phone signal, the road you are driving on will become very low resolution and navigation may get confused. Worse, when you get to your destination, there is no way to navigate to any other location if you don’t have a data connection.

    Maps likes to take you off a freeway and onto a side street just for the chance to save a minute of drive time. There is no option to stick to the freeways.