Apple Maps Collecting Pedestrian Data Starting in California, Likely to Improve Walking Directions

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Last month, a person wearing an Apple Maps backpack with LiDAR equipment was spotted at the intersection of Stockton and Sutter streets in San Francisco, suggesting Apple now has employees collecting street-level data on foot.

Apple Maps employee with a LiDAR-equipped backpack via Dante Cesa

Apple has since confirmed that its Maps team will be collecting pedestrian data in California over the next month, starting with the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara, the last of which includes the likes of San Jose and Apple's hometown of Cupertino.

The pedestrian-based street-level data will likely be used to improve walking directions in Apple Maps, as part of Apple's plans to rebuild the app "from the ground up" with its own first-party data, starting in California.

"We wanted to take this to the next level," said Apple Maps chief Eddy Cue, in an interview with TechCrunch in June. "We have been working on trying to create what we hope is going to be the best map app in the world, taking it to the next step. That is building all of our own map data from the ground up."


As part of the revamp, Apple Maps will begin to feature pedestrian pathways that are commonly walked but previously unmapped. Apple Maps will also more accurately display foliage like grass and trees, buildings, parking lots, sports fields, and more, with many of these improvements already available in California in iOS 12.

Apple said the improvements will extend across the United States over the next year, but there is no timeline for a broader rollout. The ball is rolling internationally, as Apple Maps vehicles have surveyed parts of Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Article Link: Apple Maps Collecting Pedestrian Data Starting in California, Likely to Improve Walking Directions
 
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iMi

macrumors 68000
Sep 13, 2014
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This is really good news and I hope to applies to Asia as well, especially in HK where I have been seeing some problems with walking directions.

Edit to add context. When going from a hotel to a trade show for example, I walk. It's early in the morning and the air is still cool. Great way to get going. But in order to get there, you have to walk on overpasses and even through a path that goes through a park. The first time I went, it was a wild goose chase. Some of the stairs for the overpass actually start out in a building adjacent to the road.

Apple maps doesn't account for any of it. Now I know that part of town by heart, but it would be really great if the walking directions were much improved. We don't walk much here, but in Asia and Europe, it's much more common. I am really glad to see Apple tackle this problem!
 

justperry

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Aug 10, 2007
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I'm a rolling stone.
"We wanted to take this to the next level," said Apple Maps chief Eddy Cue, in an interview with TechCrunch in June. "We have been working on trying to create what we hope is going to be the best map app in the world, taking it to the next step. That is building all of our own map data from the ground up."
Well, you won't be here anymore if the pace is like this, we only heard about those cars driving around in the states and a few other countries, this (walking) will take even much longer.
We all pay for it yet the U.S. gets it all while others are still waiting to get thing the U.S. had for years.
Apple, you should act like a global company.....
 

FrenchRoasted

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2016
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Well, you won't be here anymore if the pace is like this, we only heard about those cars driving around in the states and a few other countries, this (walking) will take even much longer.
We all pay for it yet the U.S. gets it all while others are still waiting to get thing the U.S. had for years.
Apple, you should act like a global company.....
This is a monumental task when you think about it. Objectively, Apple should just let google continue to do all the hard work for a maps application. The fact that Apple is spending so much resources on this is indicative of a deeper concern with competing with Google, and I'm wondering if/when Apple will announce their own web search engine.
 

justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
11,013
6,872
I'm a rolling stone.
This is a monumental task when you think about it. Objectively, Apple should just let google continue to do all the hard work for a maps application. The fact that Apple is spending so much resources on this is indicative of a deeper concern with competing with Google, and I'm wondering if/when Apple will announce their own web search engine.
No Google please, I despise them, maybe crowdsourcing would be a better idea.


That guy's going to be knackered by the time he's finished!
Seems like a fit guy, and it seems like it's (gear) all made as light as possible, there's quite a bit of carbon fibre in that picture.
 

mr.steevo

macrumors 65816
Jul 21, 2004
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Apple Maps failed us over the weekend. Directed us straight to the International Airport when what had been inputted was an indoor playground miles away from the airport.
 

weup togo

macrumors 6502
May 6, 2016
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Re: the earlier article about why Apple still uses Google for search, here is your answer. Apple dumped Google Maps years before it was remotely ready to offer a competent replacement. And as much as people complain about Siri's crappy results, imagine the uproar if all searches suddenly stopped working nearly as well. Apple maintains a competitive advantage by using Google Search. (And it breaks my heart because I hate Google, but that's the reality.)
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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Seems like a lot of data that could be valuable if you intend to make some autonomous vehicles besides cars.

IE, if you wanted an autonomous pizza delivery vehicle. No reason it has to be car sized - could easily be the size of a stack of pizzas instead.

Seems like a much bluer ocean than autonomous cars. Only competition would be Amazon's flying drones, which I think is probably a flawed premise (avoid having to worry about avoiding obstacles on the ground because you're flying... but now you have a whole boatload of other problems, like weight limits, range, safety, etc...)
 

Iphtashu Fitz

macrumors regular
May 5, 2008
116
127
outside Boston
I seem to recall when Google started doing this many years ago they actually had a program whereby backpackers, hikers, etc. who were traveling in locations Google wanted to map could arrange to borrow one of Google's version of this backpack in order to collect the relevant data. I wonder if Apple may do the same sort of thing at some point.

In fact a quick Google search just found that you can actually apply to borrow one of these rather easily: https://www.google.com/streetview/loan/. I just searched for "Google map backpack" and this was the first result. Nothing similar for "Apple Map backpack" however...
 
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lobbyist

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Apr 27, 2008
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Montreal, QC
Why would they ever have "Apple Maps" printed so visibly on the bag? This poor guy must get stopped/photographed literally every minute during his runs.
 
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Fzang

macrumors 65816
Jun 15, 2013
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Why would they ever have "Apple Maps" printed so visibly on the bag? This poor guy must get stopped/photographed literally every minute during his runs.
Maybe they’re secretly trying to sway people over with some advertising? I mean, a guy with a backpack mapping the world? Come on!
 

neliason

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2015
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That would be a fun job. Getting to walk all day would allow me to get my excericse in while getting paid.

Why would they ever have "Apple Maps" printed so visibly on the bag? This poor guy must get stopped/photographed literally every minute during his runs.
So people don’t mistake it for a bomb or a gun and call the police on the employee who respond by shooting him just to be safe. We have and edgy society and even edgier police force.
 

IGI2

macrumors 6502a
May 6, 2015
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This is a monumental task when you think about it.
Objectively speaking they are being slow and opposite to the "monumental".
They've done only the part of US, very small part.

Let's not forget, they will have to do for other countries as well. [they do plan it, right? I mean, they won't just stop on US, right? They said it, so we have it settled]

So the fact that they do not invest in Car-mapping cars to ALL 100 countries or more is just a weak game.

We don't have transit maps in Poland, no speed limits, no 3D buildings, no buildings at all (even the flat one, just the shapes, only the capitol has them (flat ones)), and the maps are pretty much outdated.

So maybe, it would be a good idea to send those cars out now, as this process takes time, and by the time they will convert Poland to their new format, it will take DECADES (no kidding, mark this post).

But, at the same time, I'm pretty sure that France, German, will be available in their new and better format around 2022.

So if they will appear around this time, one could and should and will ASK, why so late? It's not a battery technology, it's not an nm technology of Ax Chips. It's just a matter of business decisions. Since they are going to SHELL OUT money for UK/France/Germany maps anyway, why wait? Why not just throw money at it now? Make a big entrance, send those cars to 100+ countries, give them some time, map them good, and ok, release better maps of Poland in 2022, that's fine! But with the current state of the affairs, I don't see that happening in decades from now.
 

ELman

macrumors regular
Jul 6, 2017
111
141
With every update to Apple Maps I try to stay positive that someday they will be almost as good as Google Maps. On a recent trip I used Google maps to my destination, and Apple maps on my way home. Sadly, Apple maps failed again. It wanted me to go West for 90 miles instead of East. 90 Miles West would have put me in the ocean.
 

avanpelt

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,932
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No Google please, I despise them, maybe crowdsourcing would be a better idea.
Ahhh, yes, crowdsourcing -- like that famous fib Scott Forstall told when Apple Maps was introduced -- "The more you use it, the smarter it gets." I sure hope Apple has redefined their idea of the way crowdsourcing actually works.
 
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