Apple Maps to be Rebuilt ‘From the Ground Up’ With First-Party Data

If you’ve been wondering why Apple Maps isn’t getting any outward-facing enhancements in iOS 12, here’s your answer: the company has been busy working on a massive Maps update. Apple revealed the news in an interview Friday with Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch.

The new product will feature, amongst other improvements:
  • Better road networks
  • Changes in pedestrian walkways
  • More land cover, like grass and trees
  • Real-time road conditions
  • More accurate building shapes and sizes
  • Sports areas like baseball diamonds and basketball courts

It’s doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones with a privacy-first methodology and its own fleet of cars packed with sensors and cameras. The new product will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next iOS 12 Beta and will cover Northern California by fall. Every version of iOS will get the updated maps eventually and they will be more responsive to changes in roadways and construction, more visually rich depending on the specific context they’re viewed in and feature more detailed ground cover, foliage, pools, pedestrian pathways and more.”

Apple’s own Eddy Cue says that, based on the direction they wanted to take Maps, and the features they wanted to implement, they figured the best way to handle it was with their own data collection:

“We decided to do this just over four years ago. We said, ‘Where do we want to take Maps? What are the things that we want to do in Maps? We realized that, given what we wanted to do and where we wanted to take it, we needed to do this ourselves,’ says Cue.”

Perhaps most importantly, the new Maps environment will permit Apple to make necessary data changes and adjustments very, very quickly, with the ability to change the map in real-time, as well as make corrections and address road work much faster than the current version.