After several setbacks, Apple Maps is getting a major overhaul.
Apple senior vice president Eddie Cue said in an interview published Friday with tech news outlet TechCrunch that that the company has made “a huge investment of making millions of changes, adding millions of locations, updating the map and changing the map more frequently.”
Catching Apple Maps up to Google Maps, which generally gets higher marks from technology reviewers for its accuracy and ease of use, would be a huge undertaking. When Apple Maps debuted in 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook had to publicly apologize because of the mapping app’s numerous errors, including mislabeled landmarks.
To fix Apple Maps, the report said that the company outfitted a squad of vans with sensors and sent them to collect updated mapping data in a number of cities. Apple is also relying on its millions of iPhone users to help improve Apple Maps’ quality by supplying the company with anonymized location data when they have the mapping app open.
The company said that because individuals’ iPhone mapping data is anonymized, people’s personal privacy won’t be compromised. Apple Maps users can also chose to “opt-out” of sending the data to Apple, the report said.
“We felt like because the shift to devices had happened — building a map today in the way that we were traditionally doing it, the way that it was being done — we could improve things significantly, and improve them in different ways,” Cue said in the report. “One is more accuracy. Two is being able to update the map faster based on the data and the things that we’re seeing, as opposed to driving again or getting the information where the customer’s proactively telling us.
The improved Apple Maps will presumably provide more accurate directions and will better reflect changes in transportation infrastructure, like congested freeways or construction work that affects road conditions.
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San Francisco Bay Area residents will be able to see the overhauled Apple Maps following an planned update in the fall to the iOS mobile operating system. After the initial release and over the course of the year, Cue said that the company will “be rolling it out, section by section in the US.”