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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government is blocking Apple from mapping the capital, Oslo, in 3D: it seems the law that is being sited actually was withdrawn in 2005, but issues with an old computer system in the police department blocks the update from being put to use!

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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