Apple details Waze-like crowd-sourced route ratings and incident reporting for real-time traffic alerts in Maps

Apple-maps-ratings-alerts

According to a new Apple patent application published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider), Apple is looking into new mapping features that would integrate real-time, crowd-sourced traffic and navigation data through ratings and user reporting.

At first glance the features appear to be similar to those included in the community-based mapping app ‘Waze’, which is one of the reasons that Google just acquired the company last month. The patent application, titled “User-Specified Route Rating and Alerts,” describes a system for users to “provide ratings for routes, streets and/or locations.” In other words, users can rate a suggested route when getting directions in order to provide crowd-sourced feedback to Apple and in return Apple will provide the most efficient and accurate routes to other users based on the ratings:

Particular implementations provide at least the following advantages: Route determination is improved by accounting for real-world considerations and concerns of travelers. Real-time user-generated alerts allow for faster and more accurate notification of events within proximity of a user that might hinder the user’s progress as the user travels… In some implementations, rating database 110 can store information related to users’ ratings of routes and/or locations. For example, a user of mobile device 102 can interact with navigation engine 104 to provide ratings for routes and/or locations. The ratings information provided by the user can be transmitted to navigation service 106 through network 114. Navigation service 106 can store the ratings information in rating database 110 and route engine can determine routes based on the ratings information stored in rating database 110.

Apple also walks through a process of gathering user-generated alerts for routes including accident reports, road closures, etc. Apple plans on taking all the alert and route rating data and providing it to other users in real-time to improve route directions. In other words, if your device is detected to be in the same location as a user-generated alert, Apple will be able to push that alert to your device or suggest an alternate route based on the incident that’s been reported:

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Explore the history of nearby locations with the Historypin iPhone app

Historypin, a user-generated map displaying historical data of nearby locations, is now available as an iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Created in partnership with Google by not-for-profit We Are What We Do, the app allows users to add their own historical photos by pinning them to a map, capturing historic moments as they happen, and creating replicas of historical images. The images are then shared with users requesting data for a specific location….

Historypin uses Google Maps and Street View technology to reveal the user-generated photos and data related to historical events that happened close to your current location. It does this by “overlaying them onto the live camera view”…essentially aiming to give you a live snapshot of what your surroundings looked like in the past.

Simply holding your phone up in the street will provide you with relevant nearby images. Selecting one of the images allows it to be overlaid onto the iPhone’s camera view. You can then fade between the image and your live shot for comparison, as well as pull up stories and data related to the image and your current location.

Full list of features and some shots of the app in action after the break…
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