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Apple still pushing to improve iOS Maps Flyover with new hires

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Recent job postings from Apple indicate that the tech giant is still looking to expand its team to address quality issues that sprung up when it switched from Google's mapping system to its own in-house Maps app.

Maps flawed


Monday and Tuesday saw no fewer than seven map-related job listings posted to Apple's corporate site. The listings call for software engineers to be tasked with improving Apple's much-maligned mapping solution. One listing in particular calls for a computer-vision expert, who will take on improving Flyover, Apple's 3D terrain visualization feature.

This is the second sizable Maps-related job posting in as many weeks, indicating that Apple is significantly stepping up its effort to bring its mapping solution up to par with that of market leader Google, whose Maps app Apple abandoned with the introduction of iOS 6. Most recently, Apple put out listings seeking ten software engineers to contribute to iOS Maps, with nine handling assorted programming duties and the tenth assigned to navigation.

In addition to the Flyover posting, Apple's listings today include the call for a "senior software engineer to build highly-optimized vector content for our Maps application," as well as a Geocoder Data Analyst to "work to improve a corner stone of" Apple's mapping program.

Apple's iOS Maps debuted in September of 2012 along with iOS 6. While largely praised for bringing features such as turn-by-turn navigation to Apple's platform at last, the app drew criticism and complaints from a range of users, who found inaccuracies in the location data and faulty rendering of the 3D flyover data.

Apple jumped on the problem almost immediately, issuing an apology to its customers, as well as firing responsible parties. The company then began assembling a team to tackle the issue, and has been occasionally adding staff to that team since.
post #2 of 33
Let us file this one under, "no shit".
post #3 of 33
Who says Apple is improving the Maps app; couldn't there be 7 new vacancies because 7 employees left? Oh yeah, it's a rumor site. Carry on then.
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post #4 of 33
Maps "Flyover" doesn't need to be "improved." This is bad phrasing at best.

"Flyover" works fine it just needs to be expanded beyond the two or three US only cities it is available in. The project is humongous if you think about it, I'm not sure how they will ever get it done even if they have decades to do it.

I mean here it is a year later already and Maps still has pretty much all the errors it originally had. It still has no transit information. It still has very little information about stores, restaurants, etc. It still has only a few cities in "Flyover." No new cities have been announced. No new "partners" have stepped forward to stream information into it.

I think Maps will be remembered as the time Apple bit off far more than it could chew. Other than the continental USA, I don't see how they will ever get the project anywhere even close to completion without hiring massive amounts of extra employees around the globe specifically for this purpose, and we know that isn't likely to happen.
post #5 of 33
I kind remember years ago reading Google Map team was comprised of only 12 full time engineers. It was a nice feature in the past, Smartphones are making maps much more useful than ever.
post #6 of 33
Hey Apple, can you afford to hire a $20/hr college student to label the subways on the maps.

Steve Jobs is rolling in his grave that end consumers have to play "systems integrator" to display new york subway stops on the map app.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by winstein2010 View Post

I kind remember years ago reading Google Map team was comprised of only 12 full time engineers. It was a nice feature in the past, Smartphones are making maps much more useful than ever.

 

That's just the "team" at headquarters.  Google hires tens of thousands of independent contractors around the world to drive around in cars and take the pictures for street view for example. They have hikers and bicyclists doing the same thing.  This is what Apple needs.  

 

It also needs more than just Yelp integration.  In my city only one in every eight or ten businesses are even marked on the map because that's how many are in Yelp.  Google uses phone book information as well as things like Yelp so while there may not be details on all the businesses, they at least show up on the map with the correct address and phone number.  

 

Apple has a history of starting some project like this and thinking they can get away with their usual team of five guys, but then failing miserably later because the team cannot reasonably be expanded and they kinda don't want to expand it anyway (iChat, Pages, etc.).  

 

Apple Maps is just a more high profile failure of the same type so far.  

post #8 of 33

You could stop using that image that's been 'repaired' a long time ago.

Maybe just use an image of Kyoto, which still looks like total crap.

post #9 of 33
Used Apple Maps at the weekend to direct me to a shop in Nottingham. First time I have used Maps as a satnav. It worked brilliantly. I can delete another Google product from my iPhone now. Bye bye Google Maps.
post #10 of 33
So
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

That's just the "team" at headquarters.  Google hires tens of thousands of independent contractors around the world to drive around in cars and take the pictures for street view for example. They have hikers and bicyclists doing the same thing.  This is what Apple needs.  

It also needs more than just Yelp integration.  In my city only one in every eight or ten businesses are even marked on the map because that's how many are in Yelp.  Google uses phone book information as well as things like Yelp so while there may not be details on all the businesses, they at least show up on the map with the correct address and phone number.  

Apple has a history of starting some project like this and thinking they can get away with their usual team of five guys, but then failing miserably later because the team cannot reasonably be expanded and they kinda don't want to expand it anyway (iChat, Pages, etc.).  

Apple Maps is just a more high profile failure of the same type so far.  
[/quote

Looks like you know more about Apple is going to do next than Apple themselves.
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

... I mean here it is a year later already and Maps still has pretty much all the errors it originally had. ...

 

Uhm, I know time moves faster on the Internet, but it's still only been about 5 months, not a year, since iOS 6 and the new Maps were released.

post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Maps "Flyover" doesn't need to be "improved." This is bad phrasing at best.

"Flyover" works fine it just needs to be expanded beyond the two or three US only cities it is available in. The project is humongous if you think about it, I'm not sure how they will ever get it done even if they have decades to do it.

I mean here it is a year later already and Maps still has pretty much all the errors it originally had. It still has no transit information. It still has very little information about stores, restaurants, etc. It still has only a few cities in "Flyover." No new cities have been announced. No new "partners" have stepped forward to stream information into it.

I think Maps will be remembered as the time Apple bit off far more than it could chew. Other than the continental USA, I don't see how they will ever get the project anywhere even close to completion without hiring massive amounts of extra employees around the globe specifically for this purpose, and we know that isn't likely to happen.

 

Actually, there have been improvements -- especially in the latest iOS beta.  Here are 2:

 

Hover Dam is fixed...

 

A city with population of 46,000 has good 3D flyover...

 

I think Apple should do some 3D Flyover promotionals of tourist destinations* then entertain offers from others.

 

* Rhine Cruise / Danube Cruise

Hawaii

DisneyLand / Disney World

Mecca - Medina

Paris

 

 

Lyon France has great 3D Flyover... Paris, none...

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post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

That's just the "team" at headquarters.  Google hires tens of thousands of independent contractors around the world to drive around in cars and take the pictures for street view for example. They have hikers and bicyclists doing the same thing.  This is what Apple needs.  

It also needs more than just Yelp integration.  In my city only one in every eight or ten businesses are even marked on the map because that's how many are in Yelp.  Google uses phone book information as well as things like Yelp so while there may not be details on all the businesses, they at least show up on the map with the correct address and phone number.  

Apple has a history of starting some project like this and thinking they can get away with their usual team of five guys, but then failing miserably later because the team cannot reasonably be expanded and they kinda don't want to expand it anyway (iChat, Pages, etc.).  

Apple Maps is just a more high profile failure of the same type so far.  

That would be fine if Google updated their information regularly. In the UK many of the businesses marked on Google maps have long since disappeared to be replaced by new businesses
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Maps "Flyover" doesn't need to be "improved." This is bad phrasing at best.

"Flyover" works fine it just needs to be expanded beyond the two or three US only cities it is available in. The project is humongous if you think about it, I'm not sure how they will ever get it done even if they have decades to do it.

I mean here it is a year later already and Maps still has pretty much all the errors it originally had. It still has no transit information. It still has very little information about stores, restaurants, etc. It still has only a few cities in "Flyover." No new cities have been announced. No new "partners" have stepped forward to stream information into it.

I think Maps will be remembered as the time Apple bit off far more than it could chew. Other than the continental USA, I don't see how they will ever get the project anywhere even close to completion without hiring massive amounts of extra employees around the globe specifically for this purpose, and we know that isn't likely to happen.

Google has been working on maps for over ten years. For a first release Apple did fine. Apple's biggest mistake was not going the Google route and calling it a beta.

In the US turn by turn data seems first rate. The largest problem is relying on Yelp for point of interest data because 1) it is often incorrect in many regards, and 2) Yelp is slow on making corrections. If Apple wants to compete against Google, it needs to bring POI data in house and dedicate a team to make daily corrections.
post #15 of 33

The 1st thing they need to fix it the Maps' App icon.

 

No one just drives off an overpass onto the highway...

post #16 of 33
Originally Posted by walletinspector View Post
No one intelligent just drives off an overpass onto the highway…

 

There we go.

post #17 of 33

I continue to love the new Maps application (ignoring the data behind it), and continue to think the maps are easier to read.  I love the turn by turn as well.

 

Flyover for me is a gimmick and I don't really care what they do with it.  I thought the same of Street View.


Where Maps constantly falls down though is search.  It consistently fails to find things that Google Maps locates no problem.  I'm not out in the middle of nowhere either - it fails in the Bay Area.  If they fix that, Google Maps will be deleted from my iPhone.

post #18 of 33
Hey AppleInsider, nice job using an outdated image of flyover that has since been improved, just so that we can troll and bash it further.
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Maps "Flyover" doesn't need to be "improved." This is bad phrasing at best.

"Flyover" works fine it just needs to be expanded beyond the two or three US only cities it is available in. The project is humongous if you think about it, I'm not sure how they will ever get it done even if they have decades to do it.

I mean here it is a year later already and Maps still has pretty much all the errors it originally had. It still has no transit information. It still has very little information about stores, restaurants, etc. It still has only a few cities in "Flyover." No new cities have been announced. No new "partners" have stepped forward to stream information into it.

I think Maps will be remembered as the time Apple bit off far more than it could chew. Other than the continental USA, I don't see how they will ever get the project anywhere even close to completion without hiring massive amounts of extra employees around the globe specifically for this purpose, and we know that isn't likely to happen.

 

All that being said, creating their maps was still the very best option out of a boat of bad options. Yes, it bit off more than it could chew perhaps- but it had no choice. It couldn't stay chained to Google forever which would ALWAYS cripple the app compared to the Android version- and all the other mapping solutions are shit (ie. bing is much worse than Apple maps). This is a solution that yes, is painful for some in the short-term, but for the long term it was ABSOLUTELY the right choice, and the ONLY choice, for a responsible and ambitious company like Apple. It can now intergrate the app and take it in directions which would have been impossible if someone else controlled it. 

 

Oh, and it hasn't been out for a year. And yes, it has improved, significantly. 

post #20 of 33
I noted one error: sent in the correction and a short while later when I repeated the search my correction was in place (and so was The Whitney!)
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Recent job postings from Apple indicate that the tech giant is still looking to expand its team to address quality issues that sprung up when it switched from Google's mapping system to its own in-house Maps app.

Maps flawed


......

That image is out of date. The dam is now shown perfect.

post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by walletinspector View Post

The 1st thing they need to fix it the Maps' App icon.

No one just drives off an overpass onto the highway...

That'll be fixed in 2016 when Campus 2 is in use. Or at least I presume they'll change the icon then.
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post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I continue to love the new Maps application (ignoring the data behind it), and continue to think the maps are easier to read.  I love the turn by turn as well.

 

Flyover for me is a gimmick and I don't really care what they do with it.  I thought the same of Street View.


Where Maps constantly falls down though is search.  It consistently fails to find things that Google Maps locates no problem.  I'm not out in the middle of nowhere either - it fails in the Bay Area.  If they fix that, Google Maps will be deleted from my iPhone.

 

Apple's search algorithm is too precise -- too fussy with spelling, phonetics, and punctuation and usually ignores context (recent searches, nearby, most likely...).

 

If I am in San Francisco (CA):

  • and search for Pasadena -- likely, I am looking for Pasadena, CA -- not Pasadena, TX....  Currently it asks you which.
  • and for  St Peters -- the current maps app takes you to Saint Peters, MO.  The beta takes you to Rome (but not the Cathedral) -- close but no cigar.

 

To me, 3D Flyover offers a great potential -- especially on an iPad or a Mac.

 

Then, there is the whole PushPin demographic mapping/programming capability (APIs and data sources) that Apple got when they acquired PlaceBase.  This has fantastic potential for apps such as: real estate;  site selection;  political analysis/campaigns;  marketing analysis/campaigns...

 

One example of what this team is working on is this:

 

Placebase team at Apple file “Schematic Maps” patent dynamically detailing important data

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post #24 of 33

Ya' know...

 

There are certain use cases -- where the end [more than] justifies the means.

 

Through Patently Apple, I just read an article where the iPad is starting to revolutionize how lawyers do their lawyering...

 

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2013/02/morgan-stanley-believes-in-iphone-mini-htc-launches-sexy-metallic-smartphone-and-a-look-at-a-legal-firm-using-ipad.html#more

 

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/fennemore-craig/

 

The article is a great read...

 

Read carefully, the following section...  When this law firm wants to present a "demand" to opposing lawyers -- it just loads all the data on an iPad and sends them the iPad...  Settling the "demand" is the "end" result desired -- the iPad is the "means" -- the iPad is expendable!

 

 

Quote:

Worth a Thousand Words

Fennemore Craig also uses iPad to present "video demand packages" that outline the facts of a case to opposing attorneys, mediators, and other decision-makers in legal negotiations. Fennemore Craig creates these presentations in-house, combining video interviews, photos and diagrams of locations and incidents, explanations from expert witnesses, and computer generated imagery (CGI) to build a compelling picture of the events in question.

"Historically we would send a written document to opposing lawyers or insurance adjusters to try to get a matter resolved," Lamber says. "But as artful as you can be with the written word, it can never communicate the whole story as effectively as we can with the iPad. It's a window to the case. It’s a direct view."

Before iPad, this transmission of information wasn't as practical or reliable. Sending the documents from their computer would oftentimes result in incompatibilities and technical support issues. Using iPad to deliver this information now ensures that the message is received as precisely as intended. "They get an iPad, turn it on, and it instantly works," says Andrew Clawson, a litigation specialist at Fennemore Craig. "The video plays, the documents open. When we send an iPad, we don’t have to worry — we know our message is going to get delivered."

As a result of their innovative iPad-based video demands, lawyers in Fennemore Craig's personal injury group are able to settle disputes more quickly for their clients. "I would say the iPad is absolutely helping us win cases, and settle cases so our clients get the outcomes they deserve, and get back to their day-to-day activities as quickly as possible," Goodnow says.

"We're using iPad to present information and evidence in a concise, powerful, real, and honest way," Lamber says. "That gives us the ultimate competitive advantage, empowers us to represent our clients in a manner better than we could have before, and as a result, we can assist more clients."

 

This got me thinking about other uses where the "end" could justify the "iPad means"...

 

Some hotels now furnish iPads with every room -- and very few are damaged, lost or stolen...  What if the iPads were preloaded (in addition to the hotel information) with ads, maps, coupons, tickets, services, tours, itineraries, shops, restaurants -- all paid for by the participating organizations...   The hotel give the iPads away and still make money on the ads and referrals.

 

A "coupon" book with [paid for] targeted ads for products and services in the hands of a qualified customer (has the inclination and the money to spend) who is the target audience.

 

I suspect that this use could easily justify giving the $329 plus iPad to the customer.

 

With a little thought, there are lots of uses that may qualify...

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post #25 of 33
Flyover show users nothing useful. Streetview is essential if Apple want to suceed in mapping. Also labeling buildings and locations correctly. They are still 10 years behind in this.
post #26 of 33
Originally Posted by Lerxt View Post
Flyover show users nothing useful. 

 

Sure it doesn't.


Streetview is essential if Apple want to suceed in mapping.

 

Not in the slightest.


Also labeling buildings and locations correctly.

 

Might want to tell that to Google, too.


 They are still 10 years behind in this.

 

Nope.

post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lerxt View Post

Flyover show users nothing useful. Streetview is essential if Apple want to suceed in mapping. Also labeling buildings and locations correctly. They are still 10 years behind in this.

 

Apple will never, ever do streetview- nor should they. It's an unimaginable amount of work, and providing updates is next to impossible. Flyover is superior in many ways, in terms of flexibility/ability to update the imagery, and although it's not there yet, I believe it has massive potential and definitively the smarter initiative to invest in. Streetview can be useful, but it's janky, disconnected, and more importantly, updating it is near impossible and cost-prohibitive. How many times you think Google is going to drive down every street in the world? Imagine updating an entire CITY for streetview. At least doing this with flyover is possible. 

post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lerxt View Post

Flyover show users nothing useful. Streetview is essential if Apple want to suceed in mapping. Also labeling buildings and locations correctly. They are still 10 years behind in this.

 

Where there is no street -- there is no StreetView!

 

 


Edited by Dick Applebaum - 2/19/13 at 2:49pm
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post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 

Where there is no street -- there is no StreetView!

 

 

 

 

 

That might seem correct, but it's not. Streetview goes a lot of places where no streets do.

 

http://www.google.com/help/maps/streetview/gallery/seven-continents-of-street-view/esplanade-theatres-on-the-bay.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/google-street-view-begins-mapping-grand-canyon-article-1.1190915

 

Both Streetview and Flyover have their strong points.

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post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lerxt View Post

Flyover show users nothing useful. Streetview is essential if Apple want to suceed in mapping. Also labeling buildings and locations correctly. They are still 10 years behind in this.

 

Essential to you maybe. I have never used it other then to see what it is about and I am getting by. For most people it is a gimmick like Flyover. Flyover also does the same thing although the angle is different. 

post #31 of 33
You know the sad thing is that this picture of hoover dam keeps getting used as an example of apple maps failure, but its been corrected months ago as well as the san francisco bridge and tons of others. nothing to look at here move on.
post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Both Streetview and Flyover have their strong points.

Strange examples; I see a street on all those images, accessible by car or bike. Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam would be a better one, IMO. Click on the link, and then zoom in.
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post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I continue to love the new Maps application (ignoring the data behind it), and continue to think the maps are easier to read.  I love the turn by turn as well.

Flyover for me is a gimmick and I don't really care what they do with it.  I thought the same of Street View.


Where Maps constantly falls down though is search.  It consistently fails to find things that Google Maps locates no problem.  I'm not out in the middle of nowhere either - it fails in the Bay Area.  If they fix that, Google Maps will be deleted from my iPhone.

Total agreement. Flyover is the kind of thing that I've looked at maybe 3 or 4 times on my iPad. It's impressive what they've accomplished, but I just find no practical use for it whatsoever. Perhaps other users find otherwise. But for me I'd have no problem if they eventually send Flyover the same direction they did for Ping...

I find continued frustration with Apple Maps for local business data, and I've used it extensively. It feels like almost nothing that I search for comes back accurately (incomplete phone numbers, pins at wrong locations, finds a location miles away when there is one only a few blocks away, etc). I've used it a lot and, at least for me where I live, it's basically useless for finding business information. Good for directions though. I know other users have found it nearly flawless for their local business info so obviously the experience is highly dependent on user location etc.
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