Apple looking to simplify Maps on iPhone with dynamic emphasizing, exaggeration

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple has shown interest in creating a new Maps application for the iPhone and other iOS devices that would exaggerate some details, like roads or landmarks, to make navigation easier to follow.



The proposed invention, discovered by AppleInsider, is found in a U.S. patent application entitled "Schematic Maps.". It describes a method in which a mapping application would present users only with information that is most relevant to a given situation.



Apple believes that this concept could provide navigators with a "simple and clear representation sufficient to aid a user in guidance or orientation."



In the application, Apple notes that online mapping services have continued to add information over the years, including satellite imagery, 3D buildings and street views. While this data can be very helpful, the company also believes mapping software has become increasingly complicated, full of information that may not be useful to users.



In addition, Apple believes that mapping software is often not properly displayed on devices with smaller screen sizes, like the iPhone. This small amount of screen real estate, coupled with the plethora of information provided by services like Google Maps, can make mapping software confusing and inefficient for users.



Apple's solution would dynamically generate maps for users based partially on the attributes of the display on which they are presented, to optimize for that screen size. By emphasizing certain landmarks or roads, Apple could allow users to glean necessary information more quickly and accurately than with a heavily populated map.



For example, Apple could modify the Maps software for iPhone to automatically "distort" a displayed map when a user requests directions to a certain location. Though the distorted map may not necessarily recreate the real landscape, it would emphasize areas of interest of users to make navigation easier.







Apple could also squeeze more detail onto a screen by not adhering to actual distances. In one example, it suggests a set of directions with route segments at lengths of one mile, two miles, and 400 feet. In order to show detail with landmarks and other visual cues, Apple could distort the lengths of the roads to pack in more information.



These distorted maps could highlight locations, such as gas stations, parks or restaurants, that a user may have interest in. And they could also be used to help a user navigate their route, by emphasizing certain buildings, commonly recognized stores, or physical attributes of the land, like a large body of water.



While some landmarks, like a lake, would always be displayed because of their size, Apple's proposed invention would emphasize some smaller landmarks if they might help a user navigate.



In another example, Apple shows how users could more easily locate their friends with a simplified map display. Features like outlines of buildings and even street detail are automatically omitted, and only streets and friends, or other points of interest, are displayed, providing a user with key information to guide them to the proper locations.







Apple's patent filing, made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was first submitted in February of 2010. The proposed invention is credited to Jaron Waldman and Moran Ben-David.



The filing is particularly interesting because Apple has shown significant interest in improving mapping software on the iPhone. Since the release of iOS 3.2 in April of 2010, Apple has been relying on its own databases for location-based services.



And this year, when responding to concerns over iOS security and location services, Apple revealed that it is building a "crowd-sourced traffic" service for the iPhone. The new product was said to be planned for launch in the next few years.



The Cupertino, Calif., company also purchased Google Maps competitor Placebase in 2009, and in 2010 it acquired another online mapping company, Poly9. The company's interest in "radically" improving the iPhone Maps application has also been highlighted in job listings advertised by Apple.
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Comments

  • applelover2applelover2 Posts: 293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The Cupertino, Calif., company also purchased Google Maps competitor Placebase in 2009, and in 2010 it acquired another online mapping company, Poly9. The company's interest in "radically" improving the iPhone Maps application has also been highlighted in job listings advertised by Apple.





    I'm glad that Apple is finally paying attention to the Maps app. They spent a lot of money buying mapping companies, but so far, they have nothing to show for it.
  • ameldrum1ameldrum1 Posts: 236member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post


    I'm glad that Apple is finally paying attention to the Maps app. They spent a lot of money buying mapping companies, but so far, they have nothing to show for it.



    Agreed. It's barely changed in 4 years. (Which is approaching infinity in smartphone/mapping software years...)
  • marokeromarokero Posts: 98member
    I thought this news was going to follow the previous two with the same $300 million theme
  • zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 1,794member
    I'd be happy if they'd just get better performance out of the current Map app. I'd also like to be able to touch 'point a' and touch 'point b' and say, "give me directions", rather than having to search for at least one of those locations. I'd also like to see the app incorporate bicycle routes as Google Maps does now (in Beta).
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    It would be cool if it could take real map data and on-the-fly generate a theme-park style map, with cartoony oversized buildings etc.



    Buildings on the way to your destination could grow arms and beckon you on, and if you're going the wrong way the buildings could get angry. I'm sure the Pixar guys could come up with some good ideas, they have made cars in to people so why not buildings?
  • anybodyanybody Posts: 3member
    The current state of the Maps App is most desolate. And the changes iOS 5 are bringing are very minor. Everytime I see an Android user with their up-to-date Google Maps application i just have to get \tjealous
  • johnnashjohnnash Posts: 115member
    Actually I migrated away from IPhone a year ago simply for the maps application on Android. I found the GMAPS to be superior to anything that was available on the apps store at the time (it WAS over a year ago) and I refuse to pay a subscription to someone like Garmen when the mapping is available for free on another device. I did this solely as I was doing some heavy travelling at the time and needed to make a choice between buying an updated dedicated GPS unit or a smartphone that did what i needed it to do.



    That said, I would go back to an IPhone in a heartbeat if they actually did use google maps, driving directions etc.



    Note: If you have not seen the mapping implementation on an Android device, you more or less get a full fledged GPS with audio driving directions. It's very slick and obviously you don't have to update the maps once a year. The downside is that you need a data connection.









    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anybody View Post


    The current state of the Maps App is most desolate. And the changes iOS 5 are bringing are very minor. Everytime I see an Android user with their up-to-date Google Maps application i just have to get \tjealous



  • applelover2applelover2 Posts: 293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anybody View Post


    The current state of the Maps App is most desolate. And the changes iOS 5 are bringing are very minor. Everytime I see an Android user with their up-to-date Google Maps application i just have to get \tjealous



    Many of the built-in apps suck really bad. Like Stocks, for example.



    Apple releases crap long before it is finished. And what is worse, you are not allowed to decide to get rid of them.



    (Countdown to the statement "Apple NEVER releases ANYTHING until it is perfect! Look at cut and paste! Google is evil and releases beta software! 3...2...1...)
  • junkmailfeverjunkmailfever Posts: 22member
    I have both Android device and IOS devices. The Maps on Android is way superior to what's on the IOS device. Is this because of Apple limiting Google from updating the app or is this because of Google wanting a better app on Android devices ? The Maps integration on Android is so amazing together with the free voice navigation.
  • negafoxnegafox Posts: 479member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JunkMailfever View Post


    I have both Android device and IOS devices. The Maps on Android is way superior to what's on the IOS device. Is this because of Apple limiting Google from updating the app or is this because of Google wanting a better app on Android devices ? The Maps integration on Android is so amazing together with the free voice navigation.



    Apple developed the Maps app on the iPhone which uses Google Map services.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post


    Many of the built-in apps suck really bad. Like Stocks, for example.



    Apple releases crap long before it is finished. And what is worse, you are not allowed to decide to get rid of them.



    (Countdown to the statement "Apple NEVER releases ANYTHING until it is perfect! Look at cut and paste! Google is evil and releases beta software! 3...2...1...)



    I would have to agree that most of the built-in apps feel unpolished and are functionally inferior to their Android counterparts.



    Maps is bare bones and barely useful in an area full of toll roads when you cannot disable routing through them. Safari's favorite pastime is crashing and there is no Flash to blame it on, Apple! Game Center has easily the worst GUI I have seen from Apple yet. I can think of numerous complaints with the Weather app, but it would be nice if either iOS had widgets to add weather to or have the Weather app's icon displayed the current temperature.



    At least iOS 5 will make some inroads and play catch-up with Android.
  • hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 731member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post


    Many of the built-in apps suck really bad. Like Stocks, for example.



    Apple releases crap long before it is finished. And what is worse, you are not allowed to decide to get rid of them.



    (Countdown to the statement "Apple NEVER releases ANYTHING until it is perfect! Look at cut and paste! Google is evil and releases beta software! 3...2...1...)



    Apple NEVER releases ANYTHING until it is perfect! Look at cut and paste! Google is evil and releases beta software!
  • mhiklmhikl Posts: 471member
    What other boxes has Apple decided to think outside of?



    Agreed, Applelover2. Apple, indeed, does release the unpolished, at times. Are they just testing new waters, have become bored with a project? But then will do something more brilliant than others on the very same theme. (I know. Not always, but . . .)



    I suspect Mr Jobs can't forgive Google and likes to have its bits in the old nut cracker for reassurances and a giggle. But for sure, mapping is an extremely important part of any stratagem for a great mobile device and it hasn't been perfected, yet.



    Your comment from 8:55 AM I can't make hide nor hair of, but will keep trying.
  • applelover2applelover2 Posts: 293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Apple NEVER releases ANYTHING until it is perfect! Look at cut and paste! Google is evil and releases beta software!





    Thanks!!
  • sierrajeffsierrajeff Posts: 366member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple has shown interest in creating a new Maps application for the iPhone and other iOS devices that would exaggerate some details, like roads or landmarks, to make navigation easier to follow.



    Could be good - but better be optional too. Some of us actually know how to read maps, and would find a simplified and 'distorted' map harder to use than an accurate representation.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I love this concept but I hope it can be easily switched.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post


    I'm glad that Apple is finally paying attention to the Maps app. They spent a lot of money buying mapping companies, but so far, they have nothing to show for it.



    If there purchases of mapping companies wasn't sufficient enough to show they are paying attention to the Maps app then I don't think a new patent filing would make anyone think otherwise.
  • junkmailfeverjunkmailfever Posts: 22member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post


    Could be good - but better be optional too. Some of us actually know how to read maps, and would find a simplified and 'distorted' map harder to use than an accurate representation.



    +1



    I do sometimes detour from the suggest route by looking at the surrounding streets on the screen and seeing what's available. Obviously too early to really comment since nothing is released yet.
  • neilmneilm Posts: 445member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    I'd be happy if they'd just get better performance out of the current Map app. I'd also like to be able to touch 'point a' and touch 'point b' and say, "give me directions", rather than having to search for at least one of those locations. I'd also like to see the app incorporate bicycle routes as Google Maps does now (in Beta).



    That's not better performance?it's added features, in fact ones that might tend to degrade performance. What you're really asking for is features for free that you'd otherwise have to get a paid app for. Nothing wrong with asking, but let's not kid ourselves.
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Apples solution to everything is remove things that they determined that you don't need. In emphasizing certain landmarks they will probably remove all the street names and any reference to Google, Microsoft, etc,
  • zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 1,794member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NeilM View Post


    That's not better performance?it's added features, in fact ones that might tend to degrade performance. What you're really asking for is features for free that you'd otherwise have to get a paid app for. Nothing wrong with asking, but let's not kid ourselves.



    Guess you don't know what "also" means. I do want better performance. Sometimes it just hangs for minutes at a time or brings up the last map I used and doesn't react to pressing the "current location' icon. And I don't think the additional features I asked for are big deals - it's not like I asked for automatic rerouting and/or audio instructions like Android and paid apps have (although I would certainly like those as well.)
  • applecationapplecation Posts: 146member
    It sounds like the Maps app gets a lot of use - I know I use it all the time.

    I usually find it is the most accurate way of finding my way around.



    Performance could be improved. I do have problems at times with drawing the map. I move the map to see what is coming up ahead, and it can take minutes to redraw the screen.

    Of all things that could be done, this is the first I would like to see fixed.



    If Apple has hired a dedicated team for mapping, where are the results? I would think the app could at least keep up with Google, since they are licensing Google's tech.



    if they incorporate these exaggerated maps, I hope you have the option to shut them off.
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