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Apple updating its Maps with user corrections every day at 3 am Eastern

post #1 of 72
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Apple is now routinely updating its mapping database on a daily basis with user corrections submitted through the native Maps applications for iOS and OS X, it has been discovered.




Apple Maps POIs appear to be updated every day at 3 a.m., user "heyyoudvd" disclosed in a thread on Reddit. That person has been actively tracking Apple's progress with its Maps application, and they believe they have seen more updates to the mapping data in recent weeks than in the previous two years combined.

"Over the past month, Maps were being updated once a week (every Friday) for me, but now, that has improved even further," they wrote. "Over the past few days, I've noticed an update occur every single day at 3 a.m. Eastern."

For years, reporting problems in Apple's Maps application did not result in swift changes to the company's data. But now that appears to have changed, and significantly, with infrastructure in place to push out updates on a daily basis.

Those posting in the Reddit thread noted that they are seeing points of interest fixed in a prompt fashion, while various side roads and other small changes have been implemented. These changes appear to be going into place worldwide, with one user noting that they marked issues on beaches in Sydney, and the problems were addressed accordingly.

Maps
Apple Maps as seen in OS X Mavericks.


Users can report issues with Apple's Maps application on an iOS device by tapping the "i" button in the bottom right corner and selecting "Report a Problem." From there, users can notify Apple about incorrect search results, inaccurate street names, missing locations, problems with directions, and more.

Mapping issues can also be reported in OS X by selecting the main Maps menu from the Menu Bar and choosing "Report a Problem." The feature has been available since Apple brought Maps to Mavericks last year, extending tools for reporting and fixing errors to a large installed base of Mac users.

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

Since then, Apple has acquired a number of mapping companies, including Embark, HopStop, Broadmap, Locationary, and earlier this month, Spotsetter.

Despite those acquisitions, Apple Maps continue to lack built-in public transit directions, including the current beta of iOS 8. One report from this month claimed that a lack of updates for Maps in iOS 8 were as a result of a "failure" of the project management team.
post #2 of 72
If true, wonderful news. Interesting that maps didn't get much love at WWDC. Maybe we'll hear more about it this fall?
post #3 of 72
I have been noticing POI and map errors are getting rapidly fixed. There were many outstanding issues I noticed from when Maps was first released. From roads that would take you over a cliff in various remote areas (like 4WD remote) to roads being wrong in various state parks. Likewise, there were many POIs that were in the wrong location (bars in the middle of a house development instead of 1/4 to the East).

These were unchanged for almost 2 years even with monthly "report a problem" being filed. 2 years. From when I first found them in July of 2012 to a few weeks ago. Similar issues in Google Maps tend to be fixed in 3-4 weeks.

All of a sudden, these are all fixed in the past 2 weeks. Just like that. All fairly obscure.
post #4 of 72
Good news if true. And I'm sure Apple has thought of a way to
Prevent its competitors from submitting bogus map information user apple's user input system.
post #5 of 72

So what is to stop people from giving erroneous information just to see if it's showing up in Maps?

post #6 of 72
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post
If true, wonderful news. Interesting that maps didn't get much love at WWDC. Maybe we'll hear more about it this fall?

 

Better to highlight it at the launch of iOS 8 anyway, as it’s more a consumer feature.

Originally Posted by helia

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post #7 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

I have been noticing POI and map errors are getting rapidly fixed. There were many outstanding issues I noticed from when Maps was first released. From roads that would take you over a cliff in various remote areas (like 4WD remote) to roads being wrong in various state parks. Likewise, there were many POIs that were in the wrong location (bars in the middle of a house development instead of 1/4 to the East).

These were unchanged for almost 2 years even with monthly "report a problem" being filed. 2 years. From when I first found them in July of 2012 to a few weeks ago. Similar issues in Google Maps tend to be fixed in 3-4 weeks.

All of a sudden, these are all fixed in the past 2 weeks. Just like that. All fairly obscure.

 

My street name has been mis-spelled since the start of Apple Maps. (It's a non-trivial issue since the street does not show up if you search for it using the correct spelling). I have reported the problem a half-dozen times, and it still has not been changed.

 

I just tried again. Let's see if there's a response this time.

 

Apple's software offerings -- networking products, iWork, Maps, iTunes U, iTunes -- have had lots of little irksome issues in the past couple of years. Or perhaps it's just my luck.

post #8 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post
 

So what is to stop people from giving erroneous information just to see if it's showing up in Maps?

Do you really think that they can't cross-reference something for its accuracy!? 

 

C'mon...

post #9 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post
 

So what is to stop people from giving erroneous information just to see if it's showing up in Maps?

Submitted/requested changes probably aren't automatically made. I would guess that each one is reviewed by Apple/Tom Tom staff first.

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post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post
 

So what is to stop people from giving erroneous information just to see if it's showing up in Maps?

 

Come on. Apple wouldn't implement a change just because someone submitted a problem. They'd verify the issue themselves and then put in the necessary corrections.

 

I think Apple has probably assembled a team to work on Maps issues alone, and they only recently started actively applying corrections, which is why people are noticing them right away. Or they might have had a team all along, but they had such a backlog of problems that it seemed like it took "forever" for changes to appear. Now that they're caught up, changes are coming much sooner.

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post #11 of 72

It's good to see that Apple are on top of things, fixing things every single day for Maps.

 

At the next keynote, Apple should pound their chests and announce just how much better Maps is, because I notice that some people still like to poke fun at Apple maps when it is mentioned, and those same ignoramuses need to be made aware that their outdated memes and stupid jokes are incorrect, but that probably wont stop them of course, even if they are made aware of new facts.

post #12 of 72
Had an unfortunate situation yesterday and Apple's Maps failed me. I was sent driving around in a circle instead of being directed to my destination, so I stopped and used Waze, which directed me to where I needed to go. I was very disappointed. There is nothing worse than bad directions in an emergency and this was one of those rare occasions when time was of the essence.

Fortunately, things worked out OK, but I will not use Maps first next time.
Edited by SpamSandwich - 6/30/14 at 8:47am

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post #13 of 72
Yeah, the building a work in isn't spelled properly. For a while I thought it just wasn't listed in Apple's Maps. I've just submitted a problem report with the correct spelling. I'm excited to see how long it'll take become live.
post #14 of 72
I've noticed that several quite major local errors that I have been reporting since Maps was released have now been fixed. I'm surprised if they have only just started a significant effort on this.
post #15 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Apple's software offerings -- networking products, iWork, Maps, iTunes U, iTunes -- have had lots of little irksome issues in the past couple of years. Or perhaps it's just my luck.

I think it must just be your luck. On the planet where the rest of us lucky unicorn jockeys live software never has any little idiosyncrasies or annoyances, pencils don't have erasers, and word processors do not need spell checkers.
post #16 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DewMe View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Apple's software offerings -- networking products, iWork, Maps, iTunes U, iTunes -- have had lots of little irksome issues in the past couple of years. Or perhaps it's just my luck.

I think it must just be your luck. On the planet where the rest of us lucky unicorn jockeys live software never has any little idiosyncrasies or annoyances, pencils don't have erasers, and word processors do not need spell checkers.

Oh, I was being charitable when I said "irksome issues." Also, my standard for comparison in making that statement is not what "software" does in general, but what Apple's software has been capable of.

 

(Sarcasm noted.)

post #17 of 72

It was quite annoying this summer, that Apple maps suggested nearest Costco on Maui, while we were on Big Island. Had to switch to Google maps to find it.

I see that the problem has been fixed already.

post #18 of 72
My only complaint with Maps is that there is no way to turn off "toll roads". I live near a toll highway and Maps tells me to use it all the time, and often there are no offered suggestions without the toll road used.

Other than that, it is great!
post #19 of 72

It's a Christmas miracle!  Seriously, it's about time Apple start taking action on user-reported errors.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Had an unfortunate situation yesterday and Apple's Maps failed me. I was sent driving around in a circle instead of being directed to my destination, so I stopped and used Waze, which directed me to where I needed to go. I was very disappointed.

 

I used to love Waze - until they got sucked up by Google.  And I'm as Google-free as possible these days, so no more Waze for me.  I think Apple should have made that acquisition instead.

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post #20 of 72

Ya none of my corrections, submitted both years ago and days ago, are getting implemented.

post #21 of 72
I sense a big Maps update coming this fall.
post #22 of 72
Hi, I'm a professional analyst. I have done my research and found out that Android updates its map information every day 2:50 a.m. Eastern time. I am thus recommending to my clients that they sell their AAPL positions, and buy Google stock.

Apple's reluctance to move up their map information update time is a sign that they are following, not leading.
post #23 of 72

Since this story broke, I resubmitted a fair few of the things I had when Maps was first released (because none have been fixed). Let's see how long it takes now.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #24 of 72
Not kidding, the physical street sign on the street I live on is misspelled and has been that way for 15 years. Apple Maps gets the spelling correct. Go figure.

I never understood the whinefest that ensued after Maps 1.0 was first launched. For an initial release it was pretty solid and has only improved with time. All software has bugs. Why Apple gets vilified for their bugs more than any other company is a mystery. The fact that Apple allows Google on their ecosystem while Google is actively trying to destroy Apple is one of the great mysteries of our generation.
post #25 of 72

When maps was first launched I think back then I was on my 4s. I was interested to test both Siri and Maps so just asked Siri to "Take me to McDonalds" as a test. There is one about 1.5 miles down the road from me with hardly any turns. For some reason the route maps used wanted me to drive past the McDonalds for another mile and and half, then turn around. The total trip was 4.3 miles instead of the 1.3 miles it should have been. I reported the problem way back then. I just checked again when I read this story and did the same test and it is still giving me the same error. You can see the pin below which is correct. No reason at all to drive past and make a circle like it shows and suggests. Luckily I know better but the same things has happened in cities where I am unfamiliar with roads. 

 

 

post #26 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Had an unfortunate situation yesterday and Apple's Maps failed me. I was sent driving around in a circle instead of being directed to my destination, so I stopped and used Waze, which directed me to where I needed to go. I was very disappointed. There is nothing worse than bad directions in an emergency and this was one of those rare occasions when time was of the essence.

Fortunately, things worked out OK, but I will not use Maps first next time.

 

and i wont use Waze first after it started popping up ads for nearby businesses along my route. 

post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by 512ke View Post

Good news if true. And I'm sure Apple has thought of a way to
Prevent its competitors from submitting bogus map information user apple's user input system.

I've been wondering how Apple checks these individual notifications. I highly doubt that competitors are sending bogus information. That's just too paranoid.
post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Better to highlight it at the launch of iOS 8 anyway, as it’s more a consumer feature.

According to reports it was due to middle management issues. Issues that look more like Microsoft management issues. Hopefully, that will be solved by the time iOS 8 comes out.
post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Come on. Apple wouldn't implement a change just because someone submitted a problem. They'd verify the issue themselves and then put in the necessary corrections.

I think Apple has probably assembled a team to work on Maps issues alone, and they only recently started actively applying corrections, which is why people are noticing them right away. Or they might have had a team all along, but they had such a backlog of problems that it seemed like it took "forever" for changes to appear. Now that they're caught up, changes are coming much sooner.

It's a personnel problem. If thousands of people are issuing corrected info every day, how many people would Apple need to have to look over each one of those corrections, and to then enter them into the database?
post #30 of 72
At some point a few months ago, we started having problems with delivery companies and deliveries to our home. They would call and ask for directions, and they told us that our house wasn't in Google maps. It certainly used to be. I checked, and sure enough, our cul-de-sac's name was wrong. I submitted an error report and they acknowledged my report within a couple of days, and had it fixed within 10 days.
post #31 of 72
Here in Atlanta a major exit/connection between to highways that opened several weeks ago was on Google maps the day after it opened. Has yet to show up on Apple Maps
post #32 of 72

For me, one of the problems is I've just got used to picking Google Maps now.  I tried Apple Maps a lot when it first came out, but it let me down multiple times, so I switched to Google.  Now Maps would need to offer something significantly better than Google for me to try again.

 

I didn't expect Apple Maps to be perfect on release, but the mistakes it made were so far from right that it was all but useless at times.


Once something else gets into your "workflow", it's hard to overcome that.

post #33 of 72

Apple maps have made massive strides, and will continue to get better. What people don't understand is just how serious Apple is about mapping- mock the initial launch all you want, but Apple is highly motivated, and it seems like the system is now in place for exponential improvements. I predict they will release a web-accessible version soon, and also added public transit. Moving maps inhouse is one of the best and important moves Apple has made, if Google was still in control of their mapping data it would be an absolute nightmare, in terms of the leverage Google would have on Apple. 

 

The hilarious thing is that stuff Maps was mocked for (ie. the messed up 3D view of Hoover dam) is now fixed, yet it always has been broken in Google maps and STILL not fixed. Justgoes to show the amount of objectivity some critics had. 

post #34 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 
My street name has been mis-spelled since the start of Apple Maps. (It's a non-trivial issue since the street does not show up if you search for it using the correct spelling). I have reported the problem a half-dozen times, and it still has not been changed.

 

I haven't attempted to send in a correction yet, but I don't even know how to tell them what is wrong with the map of my streets in Panama. The map is just completely wrong. When you drive down the street, the dot representing your GPS location is off in to the side of the road a couple hundred meters out in the jungle. It isn't anywhere close to where the road is actually drawn on the map. I don't think it is anything that can be easily fixed. It is not like a misplaced POI that can be moved. The whole map is drawn wrong. There is not very much detail either. A curvy mountain road with lots of switchbacks is just represented by a straight line as the crow flies. 

 

Gray line in the first map is where Apple thinks the road is.

Second map is Google which gets it correct.

 


Edited by mstone - 6/30/14 at 11:44am

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post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It's a personnel problem. If thousands of people are issuing corrected info every day, how many people would Apple need to have to look over each one of those corrections, and to then enter them into the database?

This is the kind of activity that can easily, cheaply be outsourced (ensuring excellent quality control).

post #36 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post


Once something else gets into your "workflow", it's hard to overcome that.

This is spot on. It applies equally to Apple's own prior versions of software (e.g., iWork).

post #37 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

So what is to stop people from giving erroneous information just to see if it's showing up in Maps?

Apple users: "Maps sucks lol. Apple = fail."

Apple: "K, now you can help us fix it."

Apple users: "I'm gonna give you bad info lulz."

Apple: "Sigh. We're doing this for you; don't you want better POI?"

Apple users: "Nah, we just like complaining for the lulz"

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post #38 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DewMe View Post

I never understood the whinefest that ensued after Maps 1.0 was first launched. For an initial release it was pretty solid and has only improved with time. All software has bugs. Why Apple gets vilified for their bugs more than any other company is a mystery. The fact that Apple allows Google on their ecosystem while Google is actively trying to destroy Apple is one of the great mysteries of our generation.

Know what Google calls their beta software? "Beta."

Know what Apple calls their beta software? "Version 1.0"

Know what Microsoft calls their beta software? "New and improved version 2.1" lol.gif

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #39 of 72
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
"New and improved version 2.1" lol.gif

 

"[whatever year it is] Edition"

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

This is the kind of activity that can easily, cheaply be outsourced (ensuring excellent quality control).

I don't think Apple would want to outsource this. Last I read about it, they were continuing to hire people to look over errors, and fix them. Who would they outsource this to? And that would add another layer, which means time, to the process. In the long run, it might not save them any money either.

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