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Apple hints at future Maps app in 'layered map' patent filing

post #1 of 14
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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published an Apple patent application that takes the company's existing mapping apps and extends them to new levels of interactivity with data-rich layered viewing modes.

Mapping
Source: USPTO


Apple's "Interactive Map" patent filing details a mapping program that enables users to dynamically adjust and view different "layers" of content pulled from the Internet. Examples include commuting, tourism and weather map layers, among others.

According to the document, the map would be able to emphasize any surrounding features of a selected point of interest, which in many cases will be a user's current position. The filing gives the example of a user who is viewing a weather-centric layer and sees a storm approaching. With Apple's invention, the person can quickly switch to a different viewing mode to locate a shopping mall or other structure relatively close to their position.

This secondary view can include a combination of layers that overlap, much like the current Hybrid view in Apple Maps. In one example, a basic graphical user interface may be provided to search for map features like highways and buildings. A user-selectable filter list may also be supplied that can drill down into the received data for a more refined experience.

Mapping


Importantly, feature searches are connected to the layer or layers a user is currently viewing. Users can type in keywords like "food" to bring up nearby restaurants. While the current Maps app includes this functionality to a certain degree, the patent application goes further by determining which mapping mode a user is viewing and presenting results based on that information. For example, if a user were to be in hiking mode, the results for "food" would show camping supply stores, while the same search in tourist mode would display cafes or fine dining.

Perhaps the most intriguing idea described in the document is the ability to pull data about specific features or landmarks in real time. In one scenario, a user can click or touch a city name to display current census data. Another embodiment will give detailed information about a certain highway.

Further, a user can touch two points on the map to create a route. Currently, the iOS and OS X Maps apps support route making through the use of addressed or dropped pins. The proposed touch UI automatically generates route data like distance, then recommends which one to select based on an artificial situational awareness. If a person is traveling in one direction and searches for a hotel, the app would return only those establishments located in the general direction they are moving.

Mapping


Another interesting aspect is the implementation of geospatial applications which can be used to provide relevant data for a given route. In practice, the system would work similar to iOS geofencing capabilities. For example, if a user is in tourist mode, the map app can provide contextual information about the history of a location. Users would receive the data via on-screen text or audible cues.

Alternatively, when in shopping mode, the app may be able to use a device's location to provide ads or specials from a nearby store. This particular implementation fits well with Apple's recent rollout of iBeacon, a Bluetooth-based location system that can transmit pertinent product data to the customer while providing an operator with statistical feedback on consumer habits.

Pins are also mentioned in Thursday's application, though their utility is much more robust than existing applications. For example, before placing a pin, a magnifying loupe will appear, showing surrounding street names, places of interest and buildings for precise dropping.

In yet another view, temporal statistics may be viewed, such as historical housing sales data. Other, more detailed implementations are described in the lengthy filing, as well as a technical overview of how the invention may be incorporated into Apple's present data infrastructure.

Mapping


It is unclear if Apple is merely investigating the above mapping features, or is actively building software toward a fully functional layered system, but much of the filing's groundwork has already been laid with the existing Maps app. The power of the layered view, however, depends on external assets that are not currently in place. While Apple provides a basic structure that third-party developers and content creators can use to add content, deals have to be made and contracts need to be signed.

If Apple can bring a rich data set together, its mapping invention could potentially outperform any consumer-facing solution currently in service.

Apple's interactive map patent application was first filed for in 2012 and credits Christopher Blumenberg Jaron I. Waldman, Marcel van Os and Richard J. Williamson as its inventors.
post #2 of 14
This requires a patent? Sounds like extensions of what is already there. I just with I could modify the suggested routes Maps gives by dragging part of the route.
post #3 of 14
Introducing "iMaps"!
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

I just with I could modify the suggested routes Maps gives by dragging part of the route.

 

that's patented  ;)

post #5 of 14
This sounds interesting, but for Apples Maps to be a serious contender, it first needs to be able to plan a route to more than one location at a time. Without this, it will be bypassed by many
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ploth View Post

This sounds interesting, but for Apples Maps to be a serious contender, it first needs to be able to plan a route to more than one location at a time. Without this, it will be bypassed by many
OT but I'd also like it to be able to detect the direction I'm traveling so it doesn't offer stops for fuel and food after I've already passed them. Basically I want everything that came in my TomTom app for the iPhone years ago. I'd also like a web interface while we're at it.
Edited by SolipsismX - 12/19/13 at 10:58am

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #7 of 14

This is awesome.  

I was wondering what happened to the PlaceBase / PushPin technology that Apple acquired in 2009.

I believe this will be it on steroids integrating private and public data sets (BIG and small) in many diverse ways.

This is one of the reasons Apple needs 64 bit architecture on handhelds and desktops to address and quickly process huge amount of data.

 

Weather forecasters, travel / tourism agencies, real estates companies, political groups will do wonders with this.

Take a look at this demo of PolicyMaps which uses  the old PlaceBase / PushPin technology that apple acquired in 2009.

 

 

Just another nail in Google Maps' coffin. :) 


Edited by AppleSauce007 - 12/19/13 at 7:28am
post #8 of 14
I would like the ability to manage my "bookmarks/favorites" using Map.app on my Mac and have those bookmarks/favorites/pins be available on my iPhone via iCloud.
post #9 of 14

My reaction to this was "Maybe leave layers until after you've worked out pointing me in the right direction!" but it seems maybe what's happening to me is not all that common. Are any of you having trouble with basic map functions like simply showing the location of a local address?

 

I was looking into how the Maps app on the Mac interacts with Contacts and Calendar. I entered the address for a medical specialist in Contacts, then an appointment with that specialist on December 19, then tried to get Maps to show me the route.

 

Calendar showed the wrong address in the appointment window. I have no idea where the address it showed came from. It was just a street name with no number. The correct address was 1234 East 1 Avenue. The address that came up in Calendar was W. 1 Ave. Not "1234 W. 1 Ave.," just "W. 1 Ave." I copied the correct address from Contacts and pasted it in, but Calendar refused to accept the correct address and continued to display the wrong one! Interestingly, double-clicking that address sis open and display correctly in Maps, but correctly displaying the wrong location isn't much to get excited about.

 

I gave up on that and tried just clicking on an address in Contacts. It did open Maps, but the location it showed was wrong by 30 miles and in the opposite direction. This is in Vancouver, BC so I can't imagine it's a case of bad data.

 

Anyone else experiencing similar screwy behaviour with Maps?

post #10 of 14
I can see iBeacons having a part to play in this interactive maps.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

This requires a patent? Sounds like extensions of what is already there. I just with I could modify the suggested routes Maps gives by dragging part of the route.

I'd have to agree with that.

 

It's likely it's the implementation on how people access the data and how it's integrated with someone traveling. But Google Goggles and other "location based" systems that call up data have been here before.

 

The main problem I see that they may address as "unique" is ways to deal with information overload and integration.

 

Regardless of patent merit, it seems like it would be nice to have "tourist mode." AS long as it doesn't become "Chuckee Cheese is up there on your right, hey kids want to get bad pizza from a giant mouse?" And then I've got to explain that Dad is going to get cranky if we have to stop at one more purveyor of "food derived substances formed into intriguing shapes."

post #12 of 14

What if this patent is "for drones" and Apple is leaving the patent war of "non-unique idea -- but we put it on a phone"? Where a few years ago it was "but we put it on the internet" and so for the next few years we get patents of "A drone that uses a unique shaped stick to open an aperture or barrier" -- and we all forget that keys and doors are something we haven't seen because -- because; "with a Drone!"

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

OT but I'd also like it to be able to detect the direction I'm traveling so it doesn't offer stops for fuel and food after I've already passed them. Basically I want everything that came in my TomTom app for the iPhone years ago. I'd also like a web interface while we're at it.

Do you know if they have a feed back ability for Maps? For example. Our gated community has an endless line at the rear entrance of drivers following instructions to go there for access but it is resident bar code holders only. It would be nice if I could log in and notify the system of this error and suggest the correct entrance.
Use duckduckgo.com with Safari, not Google Search
Been using Apples since 1978 and Macs since 1984
Long on AAPL so biased. Strong advocate for separation of technology and politics on AI.
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Use duckduckgo.com with Safari, not Google Search
Been using Apples since 1978 and Macs since 1984
Long on AAPL so biased. Strong advocate for separation of technology and politics on AI.
Reply
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

OT but I'd also like it to be able to detect the direction I'm traveling so it doesn't offer stops for fuel and food after I've already passed them. Basically I want everything that came in my TomTom app for the iPhone years ago. I'd also like a web interface while we're at it.

Your 1st issue one must annoy themselves as well, so I'd say they'll release an update. Web I don't know; they killed Safari for Windows as well, indicating -to me- they're really focussing on adding specifics and not release software for 'general use'.
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


Do you know if they have a feed back ability for Maps?

OSX screendump:

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- Roger Sterling
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"See her this weekend. You hit it off, come Turkey Day, maybe you can stuff her."
- Roger Sterling
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