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Apple Maps Vehicles Begin Collecting Street-Level Data in Japan

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Apple Maps vehicles equipped with LiDAR sensors have begun collecting street-level data in Japan for the first time this month.


Apple will be surveying the Tokyo and Urayasu areas between June and October of this year, according to a new Apple Maps vehicles page created specifically for Japan, first spotted by Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

Japan is the 11th country where the vehicles are collecting data since the initiative began in 2015, alongside Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

To date, Apple has periodically updated a list of locations where the vehicles will be collecting data on its U.S. website, including other countries, but Japan now has its own localized page, perhaps to satisfy local laws.

The verbiage on the page has suggested that Apple could be working on a feature similar to Google's Street View for Apple Maps:
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.
In 2015, Mark Gurman reported that Apple planned to launch a 3D street view feature, based on a combination of its existing Flyover mode with street-level data. He also said the data would help Apple shift to an in-house mapping database by 2018, reducing its reliance on third-party sources like TomTom.

By the sound of it, Apple's mapping data could be used for advanced augmented reality applications, as part of a future update to ARKit.

Early speculation suggested the vehicles could be the basis of an Apple Car, but those rumors quieted down after the vans were labeled with Apple Maps decals, and because Apple has shifted towards testing self-driving software with Lexus 450h SUVs near its headquarters in California.

If you spot an Apple Maps vehicle in a location yet to be listed on Apple's website, be sure to let us know at tips@macrumors.com.

Article Link: Apple Maps Vehicles Begin Collecting Street-Level Data in Japan
 

PeLaNo

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2017
198
84
Why is this expanding so slowly? It's not like Apple can't afford more mapping vehicles and drivers.
I believe the reason is Apple doesn’t generate that much money from maps so it’s kinda like free time project for them in te past.

But I think they’ve realized that it’s very important piece of their ecosystem so they’ll ramping it up
[doublepost=1529676025][/doublepost]I wish they’ll move from use Yelp review in their maps to in-house reviews service like Google did.
 
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truthertech

macrumors 68020
Jun 24, 2016
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Why is this expanding so slowly? It's not like Apple can't afford more mapping vehicles and drivers.


Apple has a huge number of people working on mapping, over 4000 in it's India mapping center alone. However, they have other massive mapping projects underway to take them past Google maps, e.g., GM street view is very clunky to use, Apple is designing "fly down" and smooth visual route driving. Another example, AM is doing customized transit around the world. They opted to not do what Google did and simply import all the third party data to flip the switch and have transit info everywhere at once. Instead, they are going a much more time consuming and expensive route of customizing each region so it's more accurate and much more useful. Google has been criticized for their transit information. Then there's the airport and malls mapping, and so on.

Remember also that Apple is rolling out traffic, etc., to more and more countries.

All of this is underpinned by the creation of its own "base map" that Apple has been spending billions on and working on for several years and hopes to have completed this year.
 
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jonnysods

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I think they should devote their resources to restoring their relationship with Google and get Google Maps back into the iOS releases. Doesn't make sense to double up on work.
 
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one more

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I think they should devote their resources to restoring their relationship with Google and get Google Maps back into the iOS releases. Doesn't make sense to double up on work.

Unlikely to happen in a current competitive environment. Apple either need to push forward with their own Maps or keep hostage to third party demands for iOS user data, which was the initial problem with Google Maps. Apple must have realised by now that mapping is a vital part of their services and outsourcing it would not be a good idea.
 
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bellang

macrumors member
Jun 22, 2005
92
135
Is this just a one time process? Google street view cars seem to continually drive round to update the maps. Apple maps cars seem to take a one time snapshot and are therefore out of date very quickly.

Or am I missing something?
 
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pat500000

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Jun 3, 2015
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Apple vehicles driving to yakuza’s area....

Apple employee “sir, we lost the vehicles’ signals.”
 
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PeLaNo

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2017
198
84
I think they should devote their resources to restoring their relationship with Google and get Google Maps back into the iOS releases. Doesn't make sense to double up on work.
Nope. That’d like give something so important in the hand of your enemy.
[doublepost=1529687140][/doublepost]
Apple has a huge number of people working on mapping, over 4000 in it's India mapping center alone. However, they have other massive mapping projects underway to take them past Google maps, e.g., GM street view is very clunky to use, Apple is designing "fly down" and smooth visual route driving. Another example, AM is doing customized transit around the world. They opted to not do what Google did and simply import all the third party data to flip the switch and have transit info everywhere at once. Instead, they are going a much more time consuming and expensive route of customizing each region so it's more accurate and much more useful. Google has been criticized for their transit information. Then there's the airport and malls mapping, and so on.

Remember also that Apple is rolling out traffic, etc., to more and more countries.

All of this is underpinned by the creation of its own "base map" that Apple has been spending billions on and working on for several years and hopes to have completed this year.

That’s really good insight comment. I personally really love how Apple care about these little things. Like I never heard no one complaint about public transit in Apple maps so I assumed that it’s really on point.
 
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Constable Odo

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Mar 28, 2008
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I'm looking forward to an Apple Maps street view if it's in the works. I believe Apple should push forward on its own even if it takes longer. If Apple is really interested in creating autonomous driving software, it may be absolutely necessary to do their own mapping. I don't want Apple to be held hostage to Google which already has a noose around Apple's neck with Android. It's bad enough Google is already valued higher and given more respect from the news media than Apple is.
 
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Creek0512

macrumors 6502
Jun 15, 2012
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I think they should devote their resources to restoring their relationship with Google and get Google Maps back into the iOS releases. Doesn't make sense to double up on work.
Why not just shut down the whole company and tell everyone to just buy an Android phone and a Windows PC because it doesn’t make sense to to double the work?
 
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nwcs

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Sep 21, 2009
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I wonder if the end goal is to not be as reliant on TomTom data for street mapping. It’s one possibility in any case. It could also provide a secondary data source to compare against and maybe correct things.
 
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jonnysods

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Why not just shut down the whole company and tell everyone to just buy an Android phone and a Windows PC because it doesn’t make sense to to double the work?

That's not exactly the same thing. They are mapping the whole world, then trying to create their own street view, and then keep that stuff updated, over a dispute with Steve and Schmidt because Google started making phones too. It adds nothing to Apple to take on this endeavour.
 
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entropys

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Jan 5, 2007
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Brisbane, Australia
Apple has a huge number of people working on mapping, over 4000 in it's India mapping center alone. However, they have other massive mapping projects underway to take them past Google maps, e.g., GM street view is very clunky to use, Apple is designing "fly down" and smooth visual route driving. Another example, AM is doing customized transit around the world. They opted to not do what Google did and simply import all the third party data to flip the switch and have transit info everywhere at once. Instead, they are going a much more time consuming and expensive route of customizing each region so it's more accurate and much more useful. Google has been criticized for their transit information. Then there's the airport and malls mapping, and so on.

Remember also that Apple is rolling out traffic, etc., to more and more countries.

All of this is underpinned by the creation of its own "base map" that Apple has been spending billions on and working on for several years and hopes to have completed this year.
That is very interesting information. It doesn’t explain, though, why Apple is only ‘just now’ going to Japan. And what of its other major overseas markets? Has this imagery mapping even started in Australia, UK, Europe? And the same in transit. It might be a better approach, but the resources seem to be all in head office and not out collecting the data.
 
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lk400

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2012
763
224
Driving directions won’t benefit many people in Tokyo, as the vast majority don’t drive.

They need to improve POIs. Google is terrible in Japan and often picks the wrong location (in either language). Apple is also quite bad, at least says it can’t find a location, whereas google will just give you the wrong directions.
 
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ckhris1613

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Mar 5, 2009
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0F38CE15-9A4F-4ED5-8F28-0D0DAE2BDEBB.gif
I don't want Apple to be held hostage to Google which already has a noose around Apple's neck with Android. It's bad enough Google is already valued higher and given more respect from the news media than Apple is.

really? Apple and google both dont allow much cross platform.
Apple will never catch waze or google maps they are superior.
More respect?
 
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jpn

Cancelled
Feb 9, 2003
1,854
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for japan: i dont know where yahoo japan got its original map data from, but still today yahoo japan's map data is much much better than apple's map data.
japan is the only country in the world where yahoo is a significant player in web related data info services.
maps, weather, news, yahoo japan's apps are really good.
and for map data, traffic info, relating it to public transit departures, etc, much better than apple's.
yahoo japan's multi-story building data info showing shops are on what floor is also complete and accurate.
 
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truthertech

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Jun 24, 2016
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That is very interesting information. It doesn’t explain, though, why Apple is only ‘just now’ going to Japan. And what of its other major overseas markets? Has this imagery mapping even started in Australia, UK, Europe? And the same in transit. It might be a better approach, but the resources seem to be all in head office and not out collecting the data.


It's a matter of resources primarily. There's a huge impact from prepping and sending teams to collect data, but even more resource intensive is the processing of that data. It's not simply doing the recording. Then when you roll out something, eg., transit data for a region, you must maintain that data as it is dynamic, not static.
[doublepost=1529719160][/doublepost]
Nope. That’d like give something so important in the hand of your enemy.
[doublepost=1529687140][/doublepost]

That’s really good insight comment. I personally really love how Apple care about these little things. Like I never heard no one complaint about public transit in Apple maps so I assumed that it’s really on point.


Here's a great article that explains more about why Apple is rolling out Transit slowly.

https://appleinsider.com/articles/16/07/07/why-apples-transit-maps-are-rolling-out-so-slowly
 
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satchmo

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Aug 6, 2008
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I believe the reason is Apple doesn’t generate that much money from maps so it’s kinda like free time project for them in te past.

Ideally, the money Apple receives from Google to have their search as the default on Safari, funds some of the Maps development. Perhaps one day Maps will be better than GoogleMaps and they can thank Google for that. :)
 
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one more

macrumors 68000
Aug 6, 2015
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That's not exactly the same thing. They are mapping the whole world, then trying to create their own street view, and then keep that stuff updated, over a dispute with Steve and Schmidt because Google started making phones too. It adds nothing to Apple to take on this endeavour.

Except that Apple are not mapping the whole world with their vehicles, but rather use them to eventually add a new dimension/feature to their already existing maps. The current Apple Maps are based heavily on TomTom-TeleAtlas data, which is the main problem source, as far as the accuracy goes.

Check out this thread, some good mapping insights there:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/how-will-maps-be-improved-with-ios-12.2120736/
[doublepost=1529736297][/doublepost]
Has this imagery mapping even started in Australia, UK, Europe?

Yes for the UK (very thorough) and Europe (quite mellow, mostly limited to the biggest cities):

http://maps.apple.com/vehicles
 
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