2 min read

Apple maps failed horribly with incorrect data at launch in 2012. Since then they have been putting efforts to make it better. In a blog post, Justin O’Beirne has made a comparison of the new and old Apple maps. He is an American cartographer who has contributed to Apple Maps. The following is a summary of his analysis.

Greener maps with more vegetation

The new Apple maps is greener, a lot more vegetation. The cities are also more noticeable, even the smaller ones, they have more detail. The vegetation is mapped from the satellite view like Google Maps. According to the blog, 25% of county seats had no vegetation or green areas whatsoever on the old map.

Here is a dramatic example:

Source: Justin O’Beirne Blog

The vegetation coverage covers the smallest details. Small strips of grass, vegetation between roads are all covered. In some areas, Apple maps cover vegetation details where no other maps service does it.

Even Google Maps does not cover some of these vegetation details.

Source: Justin O’Beirne Blog

More structures are covered

Other than vegetation, even shapes of structures, smaller structures other than buildings are also now in Apple maps. Details are distinguished in areas like beaches, harbors, racetracks, and parking lots. Smaller details in golf courses like fairways, running tracks in schools, pools, and playgrounds in parks are also covered.

The building structures are being upgraded. Since the original launch in 2012, of course, there have been redevelopments, new buildings, etc. Apple is covering all of that trying to give a comprehensive and proper update. The buildings also have great detail showing arches, stepped design, and partitions. But some of the structures showcase incorrect height.

The details in some rooftops are not there which are in Google Maps. But the perimeters of the buildings are more accurate than of Google Maps.

Updating road data

Apple used to license road data from TomTom, it wasn’t up to date and now Apple is replacing all of it with new data. Some roads are not present even on Google Maps but are in Apple Maps now. But Apple does not have all the business areas/stores. Also, the street names are not properly displayed, there are errors and in some cases, it is difficult to find streets while zooming in to Apple Maps.

Apple maps have been in the making since 2014. It has certainly improved a lot, more details than Google in some areas but still lacks the large amount of data that Google Maps has.

For more in-depth details, visit Justin O’Beirne Blog.

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