Monday, July 4, 2016

How Google Maps Fared Against Apple Maps

A couple of years back, Google Maps was considered as the go to maps provider for Apple’s iOS. That was until iOS 6 in 2012, when it was announced that Apple was creating its own mapping service to replace Google Maps.

When it was first released, there were a plethora of bugs with the Apple Maps service and many users reverted back to Google Maps, available for download on the App Store.

It seemed that Apple had struggled with the accuracy of its data, with cases of people ending up in potentially dangerous situations in Australia. Apple Maps displayed Mildura in a national park, where temperatures can reach 46 degrees Celsius, when it was in fact 44 miles to the northeast, according to police. It led to people becoming stranded with no food or water, forced to walk through dangerous terrain just to get phone reception.

Getting accurate data was one of the key things that Apple struggled with when it launched its mapping service. How does it compare now?

Google remains a viable source of direction and continues to improve its services. Firstly, Google bought Skybox, a high-resolution satellite imagery company for US$ 500 million to improve the accuracy of its maps.

That’s not all though – Google employs what has been described as a small army of human operators to manually check the maps and correct any errors. They also respond to thousands of problems that are reported daily by users, fixing them as needed.

With a setup like that, surely Apple can’t compete right? Wrong.

Apple has also been busy with acquisitions, with a third of its acquisitions in 2013 being mapping companies. It purchased Locationary, a company focused on crowsourcing location data and HopStop, which collected data from hundreds of transit agencies to help users commute via public transport, walking or biking. It didn’t stop there though, also buying Embark Inc, a company which owns 10 different iOS apps that help users navigate major cities public transportation systems.

With all these acquisitions, there were high hopes for Apple Maps to become more accurate, but while road maps seem to be as accurate as Google Maps, there are still a few inaccuracies – mainly with regards to business markers being in the wrong place. Apple is conscious that there are still errors in the mapping service and has included an option to report any errors that you find – they’re usually fixed within a few days.

While there are similar issue when testing out today's Google Maps, the inaccuracies were not as great as with Apple Maps. In Google Maps, some businesses were a few feet away from where they actually were but in today's Apple Maps, there are businesses listed that are outdated or aren’t even in the area.

No comments:

Post a Comment