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Apple buys crowdsourced mapping data startup Locationary

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
As part of its effort to improve its Maps service for iOS and the upcoming OS X Mavericks, Apple has reportedly acquired crowdsourced location data company Locationary.

Maps


The deal was confirmed by Apple spokesman Steve Dowling to John Paczkowski of AllThingsD. The Toronto-based Locationary is said to include the company's technology and personnel, though the price of the small acquisition is unknown.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed in May that his company had at that point acquired 9 companies since October of 2012. He also said that his company had picked up the pace since 2012, when Apple acquired companies at a rate of one every 70 days.

The purchase of Locationary is a typical acquisition for Apple, as the iPhone maker does not usually make major, blockbuster buyouts. Instead, Apple's team chooses to buy smaller, targeted companies that offer unique services.

Paczkowski described Locationary as a "sort of Wikipedia for local business listings," the type of data that could help Apple boost its Maps service with up-to-date listings. Currently Apple partners with Yelp for local business data.

Locationary will enhance that information with a data exchange platform dubbed "Saturn," which aims to quickly eliminate out-of-date information. That capability could help give Apple a leg up on the current maps market leader, Google.

Apple's iOS Maps debuted in September of 2012 along with iOS 6, and immediately drew criticism and complaints from a range of users, who found inaccuracies in the location data and faulty rendering of the 3D flyover data. The ensuing controversy was so widespread that Cook was compelled to issue an apology to its customers, and even recommend alternative options.

In Apple's history of acquisitions, one of the most prominent deals came in 2010, when the company acquired Siri, the developer of a personal assistant application for the iPhone. The Siri service eventually became included as part of the iOS mobile operating system with the launch of the iPhone 4S a year later, in 2011.

A year ago, Apple acquired Florida-based fingerprint sensor maker AuthenTec for a reported $356 million. It's expected that the company's embeddable fingerprint sensors will appear in a future iPhone model, potentially as soon as this year.
post #2 of 41
But Waze and Google!

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09 - the most interesting puzzle on AppStore

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/09/id854675423?mt=8

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post #3 of 41

It's all well and good, but what Apple really needs to do is hire people to read, process and apply Maps fixes people have been submitting for the past year. The all too common story is people submitting Maps fixes about 5 times over a period on many months and eventually giving up when no changes are made by Apple. This is inexcusable. A lot of very important fixes are not being fixed.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #4 of 41
Typical "management" solution - buy some company to improve a product. How about utilising *actual* cause and effect?

Have people (Apple employees) physically go to locations where there's a problem reported, carrying an electronic device that takes new readings? Then you don't have a "hope" of an actual solution (based on the premise that the acquisition is good enough) but an *actual* solution that is as good an your employees ability to operate a (hopefully simple) device.
post #5 of 41
This is very good news. Hoping it makes maps more reliable!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It's all well and good, but what Apple really needs to do is hire people to read, process and apply Maps fixes people have been submitting for the past year. The all too common story is people submitting Maps fixes about 5 times over a period on many months and eventually giving up when no changes are made by Apple. This is inexcusable. A lot of very important fixes are not being fixed.

Agreed.
post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

But Waze and Google!

It's interesting that this company seems similar to Waze. I wonder if Locationary holds more IP?

Whatever the case Apple surely got the company for a bargain compared to what they would have spent for Waze.
post #7 of 41
Locationary is an awesome idea.

Apple can provide incentives globally to compete and fine tune Apple Maps.
Edited by AppleSauce007 - 7/19/13 at 6:42am
post #8 of 41
Folks, it is not that easy to "just" fix the thousands (if not millions) of inaccuracies in mapping data. How many trained/qualified people do you think it's needed to "just" fix those issues? How many trained/qualified people do you think would need to go to the field to collect and/or verify data? then, encode/translate that data to the mapping data? But most importantly, how much time do you think would be needed to take care of the data inaccuracies when we all know the world is continually changing? Google started working on their mapping solution about a decade before Apple. People seem to forget that. Apple is not only trying to catch up but supersede a company that has been doing this for way longer than they have. That my friends is indeed an ambicious goal, and for that I applaud Apple. We'll see at the end of the day what the outcome of their efforts will be. But I sure hope Apple can show Google how it's done.
post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It's all well and good, but what Apple really needs to do is hire people to read, process and apply Maps fixes people have been submitting for the past year. The all too common story is people submitting Maps fixes about 5 times over a period on many months and eventually giving up when no changes are made by Apple. This is inexcusable. A lot of very important fixes are not being fixed.

I know that Apple is accepting and submitting changes to their mapping data. At least here where I live in Perris, California. After installing iOS 6 on my third generation iPad, I used the new Maps application to check out my immediate surroundings. Where I live there has been new exits and entrances built to the freeway. Maps originally had the old mapping info for the area, but after clicking the "Report a problem" button in the application, the changes were indeed made within a month or so. So they are fixing issues that get reported.
post #10 of 41

I'm going to say it like the rest.  Apple's putting all their chips in the hardware basket and none in the services basket.

Sure they bought a chip manufacturer but skimped on services like WAZE and Dropbox.  Of course Dropbox asked for an 8-figure sum, but if you ask me it would've been money well spent.  Once again Apple demonstrates that they care more about hardware than services.

 

Yes, they should've bought WAZE but I agree that would not have solved the problem completely.  However, WAZE is a hugely popular site and it would have gotten them a really good head start.  Yes, I agree Apple needs a small army and about 50 network offices in major cities to add, correct and collect new data also.  Software will get you part of the way there but it take billions of man-hours to get mapping right.  Hell, I live in St. Louis (arguably a 2nd or 3rd tier city by many's standards) but the "standard" map view shows the OLD Busch Stadium and none of the building outlines shown on the map are in 3d.  For historical sake the OLD Busch was torn down in 2005!!!  So for all intents and purposes, we in St. Louis are working off mapping data that's nearly 8 years old in some cases.  That's embarrassing!  I mean if they kept the raw graphical data current at this point i'd be happy for a while but this is just crazy bad.

 

Edit:  In comparison, I submitted a correction to Google Maps about the Metra Train lines in Chicago being inaccurate.  They were simply vector lines connecting from station to station.  That request for change happened in April 2012.  When I loaded up the Transit overlay on the New Google Maps App for my iPad, the lines were fixed and follow the actual track lines from the satellite map.  That's pretty impressive turn-around.  Hell, Apple can't even be bothered to show walking paths, Train/subway lines or even correct building outlines.  If you need a helper-app...it's a fail.

 

Now with Dropbox, yes, they are currently not for sale and Apple was trying to feel them out and didn't like the number quoted to them.  But if you ask me, it's going to be another sad day when they do finally decide to sell and it probably won't be Apple that buys them.

 

I was so hopeful when i heard they are taking some of their services to the cloud and to the web (i.e. iWork for web)  but they really need to step it up.  I love apple and their products but they need a swift kick in the ass when it comes to services.


Edited by antkm1 - 7/19/13 at 6:09am
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It's all well and good, but what Apple really needs to do is hire people to read, process and apply Maps fixes people have been submitting for the past year. The all too common story is people submitting Maps fixes about 5 times over a period on many months and eventually giving up when no changes are made by Apple. This is inexcusable. A lot of very important fixes are not being fixed.

Do you know how many submissions they get on a daily basis?  They also have to go through different data suppliers, etc.  Some get fixed quicker than others.  It's also a matter of populated areas.

 

So far, in my area i have found no errors.  But the only one's I've seen were more of the 3D visual errors like the roads looked like they were caved in, but a lot of the obviously popular places have been cleaned up.  Even Google has had those problems even very recently.

 

It's kind of hard getting a mapping program perfect.  heck, you may have short term memory, but when Mapquest and Google Maps first came out, they gave bad directions all of the time. Nobody seemed to complain about it.  Obviously there are many maps apps one can choose to use no one is forcing you to use one or the other.  Yeah, and everyone thinks that the problems they encounter are the most important ones to address.

post #12 of 41
Google had an illegal turn in my area for five years, if not longer. Not making excuses for Apple, but fixing errors isn't trivial.
post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

Locationary is an awesome idea.

Apple can provide incentives globally to compete and fine tune Apple Maps.

Looks like the data Locationary provides is far more advanced than Waze.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

I'm going to say it like the rest.  Apple's putting all their chips in the hardware basket and none in the services basket.
Sure they bought a chip manufacturer but skimped on services like WAZE and Dropbox.  Of course Dropbox asked for an 8-figure sum, but if you ask me it would've been money well spent.  Once again Apple demonstrates that they care more about hardware than services.

Yes, they should've bought WAZE but I agree that would not have solved the problem completely.  However, WAZE is a hugely popular site and it would have gotten them a really good head start.  Yes, I agree Apple needs a small army and about 50 network offices in major cities to add, correct and collect new data also.  Software will get you part of the way there but it take billions of man-hours to get mapping right.  Hell, I live in St. Louis (arguably a 2nd or 3rd tier city by many's standards) but the "standard" map view shows the OLD Busch Stadium and none of the building outlines shown on the map are in 3d.  For historical sake the OLD Busch was torn down in 2005!!!  So for all intents and purposes, we in St. Louis are working off mapping data that's nearly 8 years old in some cases.  That's embarrassing!  I mean if they kept the raw graphical data current at this point i'd be happy for a while but this is just crazy bad.

Edit:  In comparison, I submitted a correction to Google Maps about the Metra Train lines in Chicago being inaccurate.  They were simply vector lines connecting from station to station.  That request for change happened in April 2012.  When I loaded up the Transit overlay on the New Google Maps App for my iPad, the lines were fixed and follow the actual track lines from the satellite map.  That's pretty impressive turn-around.  Hell, Apple can't even be bothered to show walking paths, Train/subway lines or even correct building outlines.  If you need a helper-app...it's a fail.

Now with Dropbox, yes, they are currently not for sale and Apple was trying to feel them out and didn't like the number quoted to them.  But if you ask me, it's going to be another sad day when they do finally decide to sell and it probably won't be Apple that buys them.

I was so hopeful when i heard they are taking some of their services to the cloud and to the web (i.e. iWork for web)  but they really need to step it up.  I love apple and their products but they need a swift kick in the ass when it comes to services.

We can all agree lots needs to be done but honestly not sure if Waze would have gotten them where they need to be.

They need better satellite imaging for the 3D maps and there are companies out there with the data Apple needs, and they need more current Maps data and there are established companies out there Apple could buy or partner with.

Waze would not have been a quick fix.
post #14 of 41
So it's a story about Apple buying a successful Canadian location company that does the majority of its work in Canada, but the article not only doesn't mention that fact, it adds on a couple of completely irrelevant fly-over pictures of an American theme park?

Wow, that makes a lot of sense.
post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenchi211 View Post

I know that Apple is accepting and submitting changes to their mapping data. At least here where I live in Perris, California. After installing iOS 6 on my third generation iPad, I used the new Maps application to check out my immediate surroundings. Where I live there has been new exits and entrances built to the freeway. Maps originally had the old mapping info for the area, but after clicking the "Report a problem" button in the application, the changes were indeed made within a month or so. So they are fixing issues that get reported.
i think the big issue however is that while this seems to happen in California, it happens with less frequency in other states and basically not at all outside of the USA. I suppose we should expect it because they all got up on stage at the WWDC to explicitly tell us how California is better than the rest of the world and I suppose as a result of that, more deserving.
post #16 of 41
I am sorry, but I find that waze has as many issues as Apple Maps including some rather frustrating problems where the voice will tell me to turn right when the map says to turn left.

I am also wondering what affect the google purchase of waze will do to maps since it already uses waze data? (though this will not affect anyone I believe but those in Israel)

What astounds me the most however, is why the apple maps data has the issues that it has since some of the source has been around for so long (and why didnt people complain before).

For those who are interested, here is the source attribution page from Apple: http://gspsa21.ls.apple.com/html/attribution.html
post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

Looks like the data Locationary provides is far more advanced than Waze.
We can all agree lots needs to be done but honestly not sure if Waze would have gotten them where they need to be.

They need better satellite imaging for the 3D maps and there are companies out there with the data Apple needs, and they need more current Maps data and there are established companies out there Apple could buy or partner with.

Waze would not have been a quick fix.
I think what I find most irritating is that irrespective of this or that company, a lot of the information Apple needs to fix their maps is actually available open source and free of charge, but they still don't seem to use it. A lot of European countries and places like Canada, New Zealand, etc. have vector maps including roads, bike paths, and everything down to plumbing and electrical systems available free of charge from the governments where it's all collected and collated etc. My city has had this information available online for over fifteen years, yet Apple maps doesn't have it. It's ugly, and its all done in autocad, so no one uses it as a resource except builders, but its accurate and freely available data.
post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Google had an illegal turn in my area for five years, if not longer. Not making excuses for Apple, but fixing errors isn't trivial.

I know.  I don't rely on a Mapping program most of the time since I know how to get to 99% of the places that I go. So far, I use Maps as something to play around with, but I know no mapping program is 100% accurate.  I

 

I'm using Google Maps right now and looking at a shopping center and it lists some of stores as being located in the parking lot when there is clearly enough room to post the info in the actual location of the store.  Go figure...........  Maybe I have to buy Google Maps+ for $1.99 for a better experience.....  I thought everything from Google was FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!  So much for their OPEN SOURCE mentality.  paying Google for something? Nope, that goes against my principals.

post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

But Waze and Google!

This is a problem with Apple's acquisition policy. They should have bought Navigon years before Nokia bought them. They should have bought Skype years ago, and they should have bought Waze years ago. All of those could have been purchased at a fraction of what they went for more recently. But Apple has this skewed idea of not understanding how important they are. They should buy a number of other major companies, but won't do so.

But the problem is that even when they do buy some companies for their products, such as Siri, they make a big splash with it—and then do nothing for years, allowing everyone else to catch up, or go ahead. This is something I don't understand. I do understand that Apple has a long term vision of where it wants to go, but they need to also understand that the competition won't stand still long enough for them to get there first.
post #20 of 41
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post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Typical "management" solution - buy some company to improve a product. How about utilising *actual* cause and effect?

Have people (Apple employees) physically go to locations where there's a problem reported, carrying an electronic device that takes new readings? Then you don't have a "hope" of an actual solution (based on the premise that the acquisition is good enough) but an *actual* solution that is as good an your employees ability to operate a (hopefully simple) device.

 

Yeah, your solution just sounds fantastic and plausible. If Apple had around 500,000 people on the maps team. "Physically go to each location"? Are you serious? Do you know how many tens of thousands of issues are probably reported in each and every single city? Think a bit next time you mock something while smugly proposing an unrealistic scenario of your own. 

post #22 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Yeah, your solution just sounds fantastic and plausible. If Apple had around 500,000 people on the maps team. "Physically go to each location"? Are you serious? Do you know how many tens of thousands of issues are probably reported in each and every single city? Think a bit next time you mock something while smugly proposing an unrealistic scenario of your own. 
That's just the way some of the other map providers handle error reports: They have a road team do a physical check.
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post #23 of 41

Facts:

if all the Apple employees focused on the maps, the company would be in trouble in no time and we wouldn't see any new hardware.

Apple is a company, they don't want to spend loads of money sorting out small errors by sending people out to verify.

There are just as many errors on Google maps as Apple maps.

 

And most importantly...

 

Apple maps has only been out a year, 1/10 the time of Google maps.

post #24 of 41
Quote:
From ascii:  Have people (Apple employees) physically go to locations where there's a problem reported, carrying an electronic device that takes new readings?

 

That's crazy.  Only a company with infinite money could do such a thing.

 

Oh wait...
 

post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

 

Yeah, your solution just sounds fantastic and plausible. If Apple had around 500,000 people on the maps team. "Physically go to each location"? Are you serious? Do you know how many tens of thousands of issues are probably reported in each and every single city? Think a bit next time you mock something while smugly proposing an unrealistic scenario of your own. 

 

Ahhh yes we do how much work it is!!!! Thats the whole point. Apple came to this dance claiming big things, putting the Apple reputation on the line, now waltz (or what ever) ie spend the money to bring to Apple standards. 500000 people, now who's being a shrill... um we do have things called phones etc to verify POI contact information etc. Even a thing called the 'web'. I suppose they could 'google' it!! I would presume this metadata is not 'coded' into a database (if it is, got bigger problems). For most of these metadata fixes I bet they could farm it out to India!!
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post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

But Waze and Google!

This is a problem with Apple's acquisition policy. They should have bought Navigon years before Nokia bought them. They should have bought Skype years ago, and they should have bought Waze years ago. All of those could have been purchased at a fraction of what they went for more recently. But Apple has this skewed idea of not understanding how important they are. They should buy a number of other major companies, but won't do so.

But the problem is that even when they do buy some companies for their products, such as Siri, they make a big splash with it—and then do nothing for years, allowing everyone else to catch up, or go ahead. This is something I don't understand. I do understand that Apple has a long term vision of where it wants to go, but they need to also understand that the competition won't stand still long enough for them to get there first.

Yeah... As long as you and I have dealt with Apple (me 35 years), Apple has had this superiority NIH complex. They do seem to blow hot and cold on various things like QuickTime, OAS, AppleTalk LANs...

I do see signs, though, that Apple understands that maps are important. The recent 3D mapping of Paris is a real coup, and the majority of the LA basin is icing on the cake

One thing that is impressive is the way Locationary uses gaming constructs to encourage/reward POI submissions and updates -- while affirming reliable data (sources) and rejecting unreliable ones.


Via Patently Apple from 1:33 to 15:37


These 2 slides from the video illustrate:

What's involved in maintaining POI data




Why it takes so long -- just for 20 million US POIs

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post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


I think what I find most irritating is that irrespective of this or that company, a lot of the information Apple needs to fix their maps is actually available open source and free of charge, but they still don't seem to use it. A lot of European countries and places like Canada, New Zealand, etc. have vector maps including roads, bike paths, and everything down to plumbing and electrical systems available free of charge from the governments where it's all collected and collated etc. My city has had this information available online for over fifteen years, yet Apple maps doesn't have it. It's ugly, and its all done in autocad, so no one uses it as a resource except builders, but its accurate and freely available data.

 

Well it looks like Locationary's Saturn software would make it easier for them to collect and correctly use the information those free sources would present.

 

Maybe that was the point of the buy?

 

The Saturn software seems quite powerful, and looks to be able to sort through massive amounts of web data and condense it into whatever format Apple would want the data to be.

 

The ability to gather information about a restaurant such as when it's open or closed or different specials the restaurant has for the day would take Maps beyond Google. Yes, I understand Google already does some of those things and is able to collect info through the internet, but now Apple will be able to do the same with a more powerful software at hand. Apple could use the Saturn to make Maps into a more complete lifestyle suite.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iPilya View Post

For those who are interested, here is the source attribution page from Apple: http://gspsa21.ls.apple.com/html/attribution.html

 

Good info!

post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It's all well and good, but what Apple really needs to do is hire people to read, process and apply Maps fixes people have been submitting for the past year. The all too common story is people submitting Maps fixes about 5 times over a period on many months and eventually giving up when no changes are made by Apple. This is inexcusable. A lot of very important fixes are not being fixed.

 

 

That is all good, however, the problem is that Yelp, not Apple is responsible for fixing the data. This purchase sounds like it is a way for Apple to control that data. 

post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


This is a problem with Apple's acquisition policy. They should have bought Navigon years before Nokia bought them. They should have bought Skype years ago, and they should have bought Waze years ago. All of those could have been purchased at a fraction of what they went for more recently. But Apple has this skewed idea of not understanding how important they are. They should buy a number of other major companies, but won't do so.

But the problem is that even when they do buy some companies for their products, such as Siri, they make a big splash with it—and then do nothing for years, allowing everyone else to catch up, or go ahead. This is something I don't understand. I do understand that Apple has a long term vision of where it wants to go, but they need to also understand that the competition won't stand still long enough for them to get there first.

 

 

I agree Navigon would have been a good purchase by Apple, but who knows if Apple was even given the opportunity to make a bid. Apple could have also already signed a deal with Tom Tom. As far as Waze goes, the rumor was Apple did try to buy Waze years ago, but Waze wanted a billion dollars. That is too expensive if you ask me. Google is over paying to take a competitor off the market. 

post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Google had an illegal turn in my area for five years, if not longer. Not making excuses for Apple, but fixing errors isn't trivial.

 

No, no, no. Google maps are perfect, and user submitted errors are corrected immediately if not sooner. It's only Apple maps that are totally useless. Just ask Ireland and the others. It's Apple and it's inexcusable. Get with the talking points will you.

post #31 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

Well it looks like Locationary's Saturn software would make it easier for them to collect and correctly use the information those free sources would present.

Maybe that was the point of the buy?

The Saturn software seems quite powerful, and looks to be able to sort through massive amounts of web data and condense it into whatever format Apple would want the data to be.

The ability to gather information about a restaurant such as when it's open or closed or different specials the restaurant has for the day would take Maps beyond Google. Yes, I understand Google already does some of those things and is able to collect info through the internet, but now Apple will be able to do the same with a more powerful software at hand. Apple could use the Saturn to make Maps into a more complete lifestyle suite
See this -> http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/30/5-problems-apple-needs-to-solve-in-its-maps-app/
post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


I think what I find most irritating is that irrespective of this or that company, a lot of the information Apple needs to fix their maps is actually available open source and free of charge, but they still don't seem to use it. A lot of European countries and places like Canada, New Zealand, etc. have vector maps including roads, bike paths, and everything down to plumbing and electrical systems available free of charge from the governments where it's all collected and collated etc. My city has had this information available online for over fifteen years, yet Apple maps doesn't have it. It's ugly, and its all done in autocad, so no one uses it as a resource except builders, but its accurate and freely available data.

 

Open source or free of charge are not always compatible with proprietary and/or commercial use.

 

For example the license that OSM uses (ODbL) requires modifications to be distributed under ODbL too. This can be a problem if Apple does not want to license its map data under ODbL.

 

Check also this and this

post #33 of 41

Count me among those wondering what Apple does with all of the map error reports that it receives.  In the time I've used Apple Maps, the street information and driving instructions have improved quite a bit.  I now find the turn-by-turn directions in Apple Maps better than with Google.

 

However, the business location data remains problematic.  I know that Apple has been coming up with more streamlined ways of submitting error reports.  While that's all well and good, the complaints about the error reporting have more to do with Apple not following up on reports sent months ago. 

 

I regularly submit error reports in my neighborhood and work area, and to date, only one of these errors has been corrected.  And that correction took about 7 months between the time that I first reported it to when the corrected map finally showed up.  I know that Apple uses Yelp for business locations in the U.S., but the credits also list Acxiom, Factual, and Localeze business location data providers.  For error reports, why wouldn't Apple simply cross-check those reports against the other databases?  It might not be technically elegant, but at least it addresses the issue of readily verifiable errors persisting on Apple Maps for months on end. 
 

While Google Maps has its fair share of business location errors, it also seems that their information gets updated more quickly. 

 

Locationary seems to address Apple's biggest problem with Maps, and it seems like the kind of technically elegant solution that Apple likes.  But, I still wonder why Apple let the business location issues persist in the meantime, or what they could do to find a way of better utilizing the error reports that users submit. 


Edited by Woochifer - 7/19/13 at 12:14pm
post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by eckergus View Post

Folks, it is not that easy to "just" fix the thousands (if not millions) of inaccuracies in mapping data. How many trained/qualified people do you think it's needed to "just" fix those issues? How many trained/qualified people do you think would need to go to the field to collect and/or verify data? then, encode/translate that data to the mapping data? But most importantly, how much time do you think would be needed to take care of the data inaccuracies when we all know the world is continually changing? Google started working on their mapping solution about a decade before Apple. People seem to forget that. Apple is not only trying to catch up but supersede a company that has been doing this for way longer than they have. That my friends is indeed an ambicious goal, and for that I applaud Apple. We'll see at the end of the day what the outcome of their efforts will be. But I sure hope Apple can show Google how it's done.

 

Last I heard Apple had a few bucks stashed away that could be used to hire "some people" - quite a few if that's what it would take - to make their paying attention to user-submitted reports less glacial....  ....so you're being a tad of an apologist here...

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post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

I'm going to say it like the rest.  Apple's putting all their chips in the hardware basket and none in the services basket.

Sure they bought a chip manufacturer but skimped on services like WAZE and Dropbox.  Of course Dropbox asked for an 8-figure sum, but if you ask me it would've been money well spent.  Once again Apple demonstrates that they care more about hardware than services.

 

Yes, they should've bought WAZE but I agree that would not have solved the problem completely.  However, WAZE is a hugely popular site and it would have gotten them a really good head start.  Yes, I agree Apple needs a small army and about 50 network offices in major cities to add, correct and collect new data also.  Software will get you part of the way there but it take billions of man-hours to get mapping right.  Hell, I live in St. Louis (arguably a 2nd or 3rd tier city by many's standards) but the "standard" map view shows the OLD Busch Stadium and none of the building outlines shown on the map are in 3d.  For historical sake the OLD Busch was torn down in 2005!!!  So for all intents and purposes, we in St. Louis are working off mapping data that's nearly 8 years old in some cases.  That's embarrassing!  I mean if they kept the raw graphical data current at this point i'd be happy for a while but this is just crazy bad.

 

Edit:  In comparison, I submitted a correction to Google Maps about the Metra Train lines in Chicago being inaccurate.  They were simply vector lines connecting from station to station.  That request for change happened in April 2012.  When I loaded up the Transit overlay on the New Google Maps App for my iPad, the lines were fixed and follow the actual track lines from the satellite map.  That's pretty impressive turn-around.  Hell, Apple can't even be bothered to show walking paths, Train/subway lines or even correct building outlines.  If you need a helper-app...it's a fail.

 

Now with Dropbox, yes, they are currently not for sale and Apple was trying to feel them out and didn't like the number quoted to them.  But if you ask me, it's going to be another sad day when they do finally decide to sell and it probably won't be Apple that buys them.

 

I was so hopeful when i heard they are taking some of their services to the cloud and to the web (i.e. iWork for web)  but they really need to step it up.  I love apple and their products but they need a swift kick in the ass when it comes to services.

let me address your comments.

 

1.  Apple has various services that THEY feel are worthwhile offering.  They have iCloud, which has been developed over a fairly long period of time that's getting better and better.  They, in case you didn't watch the WWDC Keynote, are putting the iWork suite in addition to the other things on iCloud, so you can do your work from any computer (Windows, OSX) with a variety of popular browsers.  That's a VERY useful service and their apps are VERY high quality.  They are bringing the IRadio which hopefully will be something that augments their immensely popular iTunes store.  They have iMatch, which is another service they added to have which has some compelling features for users. They have PodCasting which they really created which is a way to watch videos, listen to Radios, watch educational lectures, etc. and it's a VERY useful tool for those that take some time checking it out.  Apple is always looking at ways to offer hardware, software, services, etc., but these on-line services requires a LOT of money to build data centers, for which they are building as fast as they can just to do what they are currently doing and releasing to the market.  Apple does a LOT more than hardware.  They develop their own OS, applications that are VERY popular apps in certain industries.  Most of the content you watch, listen to, and read have probably been modified and/or created using not only Apple hardware, but Apple software of some sort.  The Cloud services industry is STILL in it's infancy and Apple just like other big players like Microsoft are looking to see what kinds of things are out there and trying to figure out what is USEFUL, what they could do to make a better Mousetrap, if you will, that would be able to make it a financially successful endeavor and providing something people actually want and use for the long term.  I wouldn't hold your breath on Apple doing a YouTube copy, even though they would make it a LOT better than Google's current implantation, but there are too many potential legal issues surrounding it because it's too difficult keeping the children off of it as well as copyright infringement content.  It's kind of a sleazy way to make money, even though a lot of people use it daily. Some people actually use YouTube for very good reasons, but along with that is a lot of content that probably shouldn't be on there in the first place.

 

So for now, Apple does what they feel is worthwhile doing that is good for the users.  iCloud is free until you need more space.  So, its useful to even those that don't pay for the service. they give you a free email account, they give you access to your data, syncing between devices,

 

Waze?  Is that a company that has something that can't be duplicated somehow? Probably not. Can't dwell on what they didn't buy.

 

In terms of fixing the Maps problems.  Some problems are easy to fix and some aren't.  I'm sure they have their reasons, which are NOT personal, on why some things get fixed sooner than others.  It's VERY possible, that one or more of these little companies they are buying have the ability to clean up a LOT of problems all at once rather than one at a time, and MAYBE Apple is holding off on those things that will be fixed by one or more of these acquisitions.  Remember, Google and MapQuest started their Maps programs YEARS ago and they are STILL not perfect and STILL have errors too.  So Apple is basically doing what they did over the course of over a decade in just a couple of years.  Learn to be patient.  If what you want fixed something that is you absolutely need that you can't find another app to help?  Apple's not forcing you to use their Maps, they've announced that there are others and that they are working on their issue and it's going to be taken care of.

 

I don't know if Apple is even going to need DropBox.  Apple does or can do the same thing, only it might take some development time but Apple probably figured out they don't need to purchase DropBox.

 

What Services do you need that Apple doesn't do that you would use that Apple can make profitable enough to make the investment in it?  

 

For existing projects, Apple is stepping it up as fast as they can, so learn some patience.  They have to hire people and actually have space for them to work, which they are constantly running out of.

 

NO ONE SINGLE COMPANY does as much development than Apple on their product line of hardware, OS, apps, service, support and services.   NO ONE.  Not Google, Microsoft, HP, Dell, Samsung, IBM, or anyone else for that matter.  They have lots of job requisitions open, so if you are interested, they are hiring.  And they pay pretty good salaries and if you are there to help and bring some added value to the table, they are all ears.


Oh, and one more thing.  Apple doesn't make announcements on every little thing they are working on, they might be working on something that addresses something you'd be interested in, but aren't finished yet.

 

Oh, and I'm sure the people at Apple are not just sitting in their bean bag chairs, eating free food, playing pingpong, foosball, getting massages like those at Google that just really don't do much except for playing around with some stupid eyewear and a car that drives itself that won't see the light of day in a showroom any time in the next couple of decades. Heck there are Colleges using an iPad to drive a car, so Apple doesn't have to waste their time and money on that sort of project.  
 

 

I can't resist.   Look at what Google employees work on. Chromebook. OOH Hold me back!!!  Google Glass.  Probably the only computer based product that is actually getting banned before it even hits the market.  hahahahahaha.   Google car. Yeah, like they will be sold anytime in the near future?  Yeah, right.  Freaking retards.  Yeah, like THEY take security seriously. every version of Android that affects 96% of their current user community is exposed to malware and they won't even step up the plate and tell those users that THEY and their OEMs are actually going to do about this potential security F'up that they've had since Day 1.  


Edited by drblank - 7/19/13 at 6:59pm
post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

 

No, no, no. Google maps are perfect, and user submitted errors are corrected immediately if not sooner. It's only Apple maps that are totally useless. Just ask Ireland and the others. It's Apple and it's inexcusable. Get with the talking points will you.

In excusable?  Sorry, any mapping app takes time to perfect.  I think Apple should have held off on releasing it, but since they did they are fixing it at whatever rate they are fixing it and if you need to use something else in the mean time, then use something else.  It's a free app,just like a bunch of others are.

 

Goople Maps has never been perfect. In China, Apple's Maps is better than Google.  So, pick what you want. I don't really to use a computer tell me where to drive to go from point A to B all that often.  I think I might actually use it on a REAL situation maybe once or twice in a year.  I've lived a LONG time without having to use a Navigation system.

 

From what I've seen in my local area, both are just as usable.  I prefer to use Apple since I'd rather have them get whatever money from the advertisers than Google.

post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


This is a problem with Apple's acquisition policy. They should have bought Navigon years before Nokia bought them. They should have bought Skype years ago, and they should have bought Waze years ago. All of those could have been purchased at a fraction of what they went for more recently. But Apple has this skewed idea of not understanding how important they are. They should buy a number of other major companies, but won't do so.

But the problem is that even when they do buy some companies for their products, such as Siri, they make a big splash with it—and then do nothing for years, allowing everyone else to catch up, or go ahead. This is something I don't understand. I do understand that Apple has a long term vision of where it wants to go, but they need to also understand that the competition won't stand still long enough for them to get there first.

Apple wasn't planning on buying into the Navigation world back then.  Apple was HOPING Google was going to get off their ass and make the iOS version equal to the Android version, but because Google's a bunch of whiney little backstabbing punks, they want to PURPOSELY give their own platform more attention since they want something to brag about.  

 

Apple will get Maps together since they are focusing more on it.  I've already seen improvements.  It's a new app for them and it's a wildly app at that.  Google has had more time with their product, so it stands to reason that there's more accuracy, but over time, Apple's will be just as accurate in just as many places.  Some people, like myself, haven't run into any problems.  I also don't pick a platform just because of one app that I don't even run my life on. It's not a deal breaker.  I can use any number of apps that do essentially the same thing, but then again, I usually know how to get to where I'm going and don't need  a smartphone telling me.

 

One thing you fail to realize in your rant.  Google has a REALLY bad track record with regards to security and getting their platform up to date.  You can't even walk into a store and find any more than maybe 5 or so smartphones that are actually running 4.2.2.  That's a MAJOR problem and the Android platform SUCKS because of it.  I and a LOT of developers, and a LOT of corporations that buy these types of products won't even consider the Android platform.  There are things that CAN'T be done on Android unless someone actually supports it, in a lot of industries where there are professionals, Android support is practically non-existent.  But your average Joe Blow consumer is practically oblivious to the security issues.  I had a Android fan, hard core at that, didn't even know about 4.2.2 and wasn't aware of it until I told him last night.  He thought about the OS updating problem on the Android platform and he said he might have to get a new phone just to be up to date.  And he just bought his phone last year.   That's F'd up that someone can even buy a phone and have OS updates on a regular basis where they are updated as soon as it's publicly released.  The Nexus platform only has one or two phones to choose from and they aren't really that great compared to the non-Nexus.  So, that's a MAJOR fail.

 

If Google Maps is their crowing Jewel, then they should have kept it equal on all platforms they support and not put out crap in the mean time.  If Apple is serious enough about Maps, which they seem to be, it WILL get cleaned up and it WILL get to be as accurate or as inaccurate as Google Maps.  Google Maps is NOT perfect.  I've seen examples of it recently where it wasn't perfect, it had a similar problem that Apple had in Australia that got fixed by both companies.  So Google IS NOT PERFECT.  If you think it is, then you have a problem with delusional thinking.

post #38 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

 

Yeah, your solution just sounds fantastic and plausible. If Apple had around 500,000 people on the maps team. "Physically go to each location"? Are you serious? Do you know how many tens of thousands of issues are probably reported in each and every single city? Think a bit next time you mock something while smugly proposing an unrealistic scenario of your own. 

They can use the employees they already have, in the Apple Stores, all over the world, to go to nearby locations and improve the maps.

post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

They can use the employees they already have, in the Apple Stores, all over the world, to go to nearby locations and improve the maps.

 

Yep.  They already did that last year:

 

http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/10/03/apple-reportedly-tasks-retail-employees-with-reporting-ios-6-maps-errors

 

" The details indicate that Apple is hoping its more than 40,000 retail employees can help improve the Maps application introduced with iOS 6."

 

I'm impressed with Apple's efforts to improve their maps.  They're certainly pulling out all the stops and buying up as much talent as possible.   We often complain that Apple should use their billions in cash to their advantage, and this time they are.

 

On the downside, it's a pity that useful apps like HopStop will no doubt disappear from the various app stores.

post #40 of 41
The acquisition of Locationary is focused on resolving the single greatest issue with Apple Maps - data.

Apple doesn't lack data. Apple sources data from numerous sources; Acxiom, Localeze and Yelp among others.

The challenge that Apple faces is to accurate data. When a variety of sources offer similar but not exactly the same information it is difficult to know which source is correct. This is the challenge that Locationary solves.

Anyone who believes that Apple doesn't have a significant number of Geographic Information Systems experts following the acquisition of Placebase, Poly9 and C3 Technologies is a fool.
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