Apple officially confirms it is building its own mapping, with Street View style imagery

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We exclusively revealed last month that Apple is developing its own mapping database, complete with 3D Street View imagery – and the company has now officially confirmed this on a new webpage.

Apple is driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates.

We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data. For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.

We first speculated back in February that this was the likely reason for the camera-equipped minivans leased by Apple, at a time when many were suggesting they were test beds for self-driving cars.

If you fancy trying to photobomb one of Apple’s camera vans, the company has posted a list of the locations they will be visiting later this month …  Read more

iOS 9 Transit Maps to launch in a handful of cities in North America, Europe & China

Maps Transit

While Apple plans to debut its own mass transit directions service for Maps in iOS 9 as soon as June, the rollout will not be as ambitious as some users may have hoped. In its first iteration, Apple’s Transit service will only support approximately a half-dozen cities across the United States, Canada, and Europe, in addition to China, according to sources…

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Apple readies Transit subway, train + bus guides for iOS 9 Maps, deploys robots for indoor mapping

Maps Transit

Having originally planned to add a new transit directions feature to Maps last year, only to pull the feature before WWDC 2014, Apple now hopes to launch its Transit service with iOS 9, according to sources. Apple currently plans to debut bus, subway, and train route navigation as the central upgrade to the Maps app in iOS 9 at WWDC, using a user interface similar to the one intended for last fall’s launch, as depicted in the screenshots above…

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Apple might have accquired GPS company Coherent Navigation to bolster Maps accuracy (Update: Apple confirms)

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Update: Apple confirmed the acquisition.

Apple, which has already acquired a variety of companies to help its Maps team, appears to have recently purchased San Francisco-based GPS company Coherent Navigation. The company was founded in 2008 by a pair of engineers from Stanford and Cornell. While Apple and Coherent Navigation have yet to confirm the acquisition, several pieces of evidence support the idea.

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Apple Maps Connect travels to five additional European countries

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Apple this week has expanded its Apple Maps Connect service to five additional regions in Europe: Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and The Netherlands. The additions were noted in an email to users of the platform and on the Apple Maps Connect website. For those unfamiliar, Apple Maps Connect allows business owners to both manage existing Apple Maps listings and add additional listings to the platform. This service works closely with the Apple Indoor Mapping feature, which aims for businesses to help Apple build up a portfolio of indoor mapping data. Apple earlier expanded Apple Maps Connect via service updates in January, February, and MarchThanks Chris!

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Tour the Arches National Park on Apple Maps Flyover, plus 19 other locations

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Apple is adding 20 new Flyover locations to Apple Maps, including the Arches National Park in Utah. Flyover not only provides a great way to get a realistic view of a location, but also allows some virtual tourism of some of the bigger sights out there that you may never get the chance to visit in person.

As always with Flyover updates, it can take a little time for them to roll out to everyone. You’ll know it’s available when you search for a location and see the Flyover bar with its Start button …  Read more

Apple wins patent for Maps feature that could help you avoid routes w/ weak cellular signal

Maps details

Apple applies for and gets awarded patents for everything under the sun, and patents don’t always translate to shipped features. Disclaimer aside, the iPhone maker was recently awarded a patent for a potentially useful feature that could help you avoid areas with weak cellular coverage when planning your trip with navigation in Maps.

The USPTO awarded Apple with a patent (via Gigaom) to analyze routes between two locations and “employ an algorithm that considers wireless network signal strengths along those routes.”

In other words, because your iPhone can collect and measure cellular signal data and many iPhone users anonymously share travel data with Apple, there’s potential for Maps to know which routes problematically contain dead zones and suggest lengthier routes with better signal. Read more

Apple Maps adds animated 3D imagery starting w/ UK’s London Eye & Big Ben (Videos)

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Apple has added some nice new touches to Apple Maps with animated 3D imagery for iconic landmarks starting with the UK. Apple Maps now shows the correct time on Big Ben and a rotating London Eye when users viewing the landmarks access the app’s 3D Flyover feature.

Videos showing off the animated London Eye and Big Ben in Apple Maps are below: Read more