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Apple's Maps team calling businesses to resolve user-reported address issues

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
As Apple continues to refine its in-house mapping and navigation services, business owners are reportedly receiving phone calls from Maps team representatives looking to resolve user-submitted data discrepancies.




According to a post on Reddit, Apple's Maps team is reaching out to business owners to clarify reports of incorrect address data assumedly sent in through the Maps app's "Report a Problem" feature.

As noted by Reddit user swb1192:

A 408 number called me from Apple Maps and let me know that a user reported my business address as incorrect. They still had my old address that was listed on Yelp so I gave them the new one. I asked when I should expect it to be updated on Apple Maps and the lady said, "We don't have an exact timeline for updates but it should be within the next week."
It appears that Apple pulled from Yelp awhile ago but it doesn't actually sync the addresses and other information.
Still couldn't believe that they called me to fix up the listing - how awesome.


The "408" area code covers Cupertino, Calif., along with neighboring cities in the counties of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz.

Although the Maps team appears to be contacting individual businesses, it is unclear if Apple is also making calls to other points of interest like schools and apartment buildings as reports affirming such action have not yet surfaced.

Also unknown is the process by which Apple prioritizes the "Report a Problem" corrections. It can be assumed that the Maps team receives a large volume of correction requests per day considering the app has been deployed worldwide and is now available on OS X as of 10.9 Mavericks. If the Reddit user is to be believed, Apple is achieving a quick turnaround of one week for each reported incident.

The information jibes with a report last week that claimed Apple is now updating the Maps app with user-generated corrections on a daily basis.

Since its 2012 introduction in iOS 6, the Maps service has endured a barrage of criticism over inaccurate map data, The rollout was so ill received that it prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a formal apology to customers and was said to be play a role in the ousting of former iOS chief Scott Forstall.

Following the rocky start, Apple acquired a number of mapping and navigation companies including Embark, HopStop, Broadmap, Locationary, and Spotsetter to bolster Maps' feature set. Despite its efforts, Apple's Maps app still suffers from inaccuracies and lacks functions like built-in public transit directions that have long been available through competing services, namely Google Maps.
post #2 of 79
Why would it Jibe? If they are doing updates every day It may take a week for a particular one to get updated? Doesn't mean to say that they are not updating every day.
post #3 of 79
Apple's Map app is bereft of places. It seems they do pull most of their info from Yelp. But , I think there should be a simple and clear path to adding and fixing data directly within zither Map app.
post #4 of 79
About time. The Yelp POI location data has been nothing short of an embarrassment, and the decision to rely on it was disgraceful.

If Apple wants to be in the map business (and it seems they do) then they need to belly up to the bar and do a full court press on their POI data. It's time to them take some accountability for this and get it fixed.

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post #5 of 79

I have tried to tell the "map team" that the Baltic sea (for the Geography challenged that is the sea between Sweden and Finland)...

...is placed on the WRONG SIDE OF SWEDEN!

 

That is both tragic, and Hilarious.

 

On every Swedish Forum/Comments etc when sb says "Apple Maps has become better..." the reply is always, from the H8terclub:

 

- Yes, and still the entire Baltic sea (Östersjön) is placed along the wrog coast... yada yada yada.

 


Reported this probably 10 times, over YEARS.

post #6 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

About time. The Yelp POI location data has been nothing short of an embarrassment, and the decision to rely on it was disgraceful.

If Apple wants to be in the map business (and it seems they do) then they need to belly up to the bar and do a full court press on their POI data. It's time to them take some accountability for this and get it fixed.

Agreed. Apple has to do something to bolster their POI data.

Maps are relatively easy. Most roads have been around for decades... but even newer roads are listed somewhere. Every state has a department of transportation... so they should know the status of every road. I would imagine other countries have similar departments.

POI data is a little more challenging. But hell... can't they use data from YellowPages.com or something?

Is there not one place that has the names, correct addresses and phone numbers of every business in a particular city?

It sounds like Apple went to Yelp for information... but it resulted in lots of wrong information. Was Yelp the only source they used?

I'm shocked that we live in a time where information is available everywhere... yet they can't seem to find the correct information for businesses.

Every business pays taxes... their names, addresses and phone numbers should be listed there. Why is there no other source that has this information?
post #7 of 79
I can actually appreciate now how apple didn't announce anything new for maps at WWDC. It seems they want to get the current iteration right first before they attempt to add new features. Perhaps in September when ios 8/Yosemite is launched they will finally add on new features.

My question is why don't they just use tomtom's POI data?
post #8 of 79
They should update their search algoritmes. Ever heard of fuzzy search, Apple? If you don't have the exact spelling of the street name and city name (down to spaces!), it never finds anything
post #9 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sully54 View Post

I can actually appreciate now how apple didn't announce anything new for maps at WWDC. It seems they want to get the current iteration right first before they attempt to add new features. Perhaps in September when ios 8/Yosemite is launched they will finally add on new features.

My question is why don't they just use tomtom's POI data?
I personally expected a map maker of some kind to be announced at WWDC. I was surprised when that they didn't launch something like that for Apple Maps.
P.s. from what I've seen TomTom's POI database isn't quite perfect either, so don't know if using them would solve the issue.
Edited by Chipsy - 7/12/14 at 2:46am
post #10 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by hagar View Post

They should update their search algoritmes. Ever heard of fuzzy search, Apple? If you don't have the exact spelling of the street name and city name (down to spaces!), it never finds anything

I know.
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post #11 of 79
I like Ape Maps, but POI data is it's big weakness.
post #12 of 79
Let's hope they start calling some UK businesses too. Yesterday I had to drop off some kit for a friend to a cricket club, Apple Maps didn't know where the cricket club was (it suggested a golf club nearby) but Google found it immediately. On my way back I needed to call in at a post office. Apple Maps took me to the wrong end of the correct street, so again I had to bring up Google Maps to find the right location. I always try Apple first because I don't want to use Google's services, but unfortunately 2 years since Apple Maps ditched Google, it still is barely usable in the UK.
post #13 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by hagar View Post

They should update their search algoritmes. Ever heard of fuzzy search, Apple? If you don't have the exact spelling of the street name and city name (down to spaces!), it never finds anything

Maps Spotlight (may be renamed) is coming, probably in 2015, along with what amounts to a global search engine that initially will work only within MacOS and iOS, but will ultimately be web-based as well as people make their browser homepage iCloud.com or similar.  This service may eventually expand to include all users (not just Apple device owners) as a way to get others into the Apple fold.  At this point, Google will finally realize that the thermonuclear war has truly begun.

post #14 of 79

"If the Reddit user is to be believed, Apple is achieving a quick turnaround of one week for each reported incident."

 

​Ummm…I think you mean, "If the Apple Support person is to be believed…"

post #15 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipsy View Post


I personally expected a map maker of some kind to be announced at WWDC. I was surprised when that they didn't launch something like that for Apple Maps.
P.s. from what I've seen TomTom's POI database isn't quite perfect either, so don't know if using them would solve the issue.

No service will ever be "perfect," as there are hundreds of millions of businesses that are always in flux (new buildings, business moving to new locations or closing, etc.).  However, as Apple becomes more influential in this sector, and every business owner in the world starts to adopt iOS to drive their in-business operations (and, although unrelated, their cars), we will see a new way of thinking where new businesses or businesses that have changed locations will not bother with the Chambers of Commerce (remember them?), but rather will update all their information through what amounts to Apple services.  At this point, in addition to all the effort Apple is making to perfect their maps, the authorized public will be working to this end as well.

 

I also see Apple eventually offering free services to municipal, state, and federal agencies (highway dept, FEMA, etc.) that will assist these agencies  in their daily logistics, and in return will have much richer data for Maps.

post #16 of 79

Amazing how people who know nothing about how POIs are collected, updated and verified can spew about how "simple" it is to add them and keep them accurate. Tom Tom and Navteq have been doing this for years and are still not perfect and will never be. Blindly trusting user inputs and corrections, as some suggest, is just stupid. People are idiots, malicious or both. They absolutely need to be validated. I love how one writer wrote that every state has a department of transportation, so it should be easy to get info. States only control the major state highways. Everything else, including the local info that people really need are controlled by the counties and towns. That includes the naming of streets. So, that is literally thousands of government departments to gather data from and hope that it is accurate. Even then, most do not store this information digitally. Another writer suggested that tax records be used to confirm business addresses. Really?! How many business addresses and DBAs are the same as the location and name of the business that customers actually go to.

post #17 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

Every business pays taxes... their names, addresses and phone numbers should be listed there. Why is there no other source that has this information?

I own a business and my business address and phone number that are filed by the city, state, and federal government are not my actual business address or phone number. It is a fairly common practice to have that info be your home address or in some cases your attorney's address (think forming your buisness in another state for tax/legal purposes). Or multiple locations of a buisness having a common address so all tax/legal contacts are in one place.

Not to mention that it would make me feel very uncomfortable of goverment agencies selling my buisness contact details to 3rd party businesses.

What Apple should do if they really want to go mainstream with their Maps is create a functionality similar to Google Places. where a user can submit a new buisness to the database and as a buisness owner I can verify ownership either by submitting a form of adding a bit of code to the website so that I now have control of what content is shown on my business listing. This would allow for the POI database to be expanded rapidly and would cut down on Apple's human verification factor.
post #18 of 79

2 weeks ago, I was searching for a restaurant on my iPhone. It showed up 2 block west of the actual location.

I reported it as incorrect and put it in the correct location. Maps asked if I wanted to be notified when it was fixed. I tapped yes and I was notified the next day it had been corrected and it really was corrected!

post #19 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by zaba View Post

Why would it Jibe? If they are doing updates every day It may take a week for a particular one to get updated? Doesn't mean to say that they are not updating every day.

They can only update so much on any given day.
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post #20 of 79

I am not surprise the ex-Apple guy who joined Uber was fired and he was one of them holding up the progress of Apple Maps.

post #21 of 79
I was pretty disappointed when in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska a few weeks ago to discover much of Alaska is not mapped at all other than a very low res high altitude snap shot. I switch to Google Maps and found the exact same areas missing any resolution. Kind of weird they both missed out the same areas! I am guessing they share similar population count / to map or not to map algorithms?

So, please Apple, yes continue to refine details and add fly overs, but also please finish actually mapping the whole of the USA, many of us are interested in geology and geography not just urban areas.

Edit after Chris_CA pointed out error.
Edited by digitalclips - 7/12/14 at 10:40am
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post #22 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I was pretty disappointed when in Glacier National Park, Alaska a few weeks ago

That would be Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Glacier National Park is in Montana.

 

(Pedantry abounds!)

post #23 of 79
Where I live was a new estate in 2006. It took over 6 years for TomTom to update their maps to show the new roads. Deliveries and friends visiting was always a problem if they used TomTom as they would be sent to roads that no longer existed. And yes, I tried informing TomTom more than once.
post #24 of 79

This is great and all, especially in light of the antics that take place on Google Maps. But this isn't the problem. The problem is that practically nothing is in the database (it can't find any store within 2km of me).

 

And that database is closed. At least Google has Places.

 

This was a golden opportunity for Apple to make a single, open, free POI system that everyone used.

post #25 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by hagar View Post

They should update their search algoritmes. Ever heard of fuzzy search, Apple? If you don't have the exact spelling of the street name and city name (down to spaces!), it never finds anything[/quote

Yeah, try:

st peters --> near st louis

st peters rome --> rome ny

st peters rome italy --> drops 8 pins (all wrong) and highlights an inn ~= 1 mile from target

st peters church --> near st louis

st peters church rome --> rome ny

st peters church rome italy --> doesn't move anywhere (even if the map is showing rome italy)

st peters basilica --> bingo

... seems you can misspell basilica and it still finds it

I reported all these last week!
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post #26 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent McAnulty View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by hagar View Post

They should update their search algoritmes. Ever heard of fuzzy search, Apple? If you don't have the exact spelling of the street name and city name (down to spaces!), it never finds anything
Maps Spotlight (may be renamed) is coming, probably in 2015, along with what amounts to a global search engine that initially will work only within MacOS and iOS, but will ultimately be web-based as well as people make their browser homepage iCloud.com or similar.  This service may eventually expand to include all users (not just Apple device owners) as a way to get others into the Apple fold.  At this point, Google will finally realize that the thermonuclear war has truly begun.

Citation?
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post #27 of 79
I've been saying for a while that the 'delays' in updates are likely because Apple would insist on verifying all reports so no one can prank the system. Seems I was right.

What might be better, at least for bigger companies etc, might be a way for them to proactively update their information. They close a shop or move it or build one, they can tell Apple directly and get it fixed right away. Same perhaps with road closures etc from governments so that driving directions can compensate.

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post #28 of 79

Try living in the UK - the POI content on Apple Maps is appalling.

 

Unlike Google, whose worldwide database seems pretty comprehensive, Apple seems intent on treating anyone who doesn't live in North America as a second-class citizen.

post #29 of 79

I think Google will continue to be the map leader for two main reasons. One, they can use their search data and apply it to maps, and two, they can use their Street View data and apply that to maps as well. They have all the data they need. Apple has none of that.

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post #30 of 79
Google Maps' public transit directions isn't entirely reliable either. I was recently in London and it gave me roundabout directions to go from one place to another. It had me walk, take a bus, then hop on the tube when a direct tube connection with one transfer and less walking overall was available. This type of error happened too often as to make the transit routing service untrustworthy, and if you can't trust a routing service then it's useless.

Google Maps is still better overall than Apple Maps but let's not make it sound like it's infallible and head and shoulders above the latter.
post #31 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

Maps are relatively easy. Most roads have been around for decades... but even newer roads are listed somewhere. Every state has a department of transportation... so they should know the status of every road. I would imagine other countries have similar departments.
 

In southern California, before Internet mapping, there was a company named Thomas Bros. Maps. They published new maps each year for every county and every government vehicle was required to have the most current version. I think they are out of business now. Their headquarters in Irvine closed. Anyway they indeed listed every single street, highway, alleyway and public building, but they surely had to contact every little city, every county, and the state, and the information wasn't digital either. That is a tremendous amount of work. But it can be done.

 

Thomas Bros. charged a lot of money for those books, and their business depended on extreme accuracy because the police and fire departments relied on them. Apple doesn't seem to have that sense of responsibility or urgency, and their revenue stream is not at all affected by the lack of map accuracy. I'm not sure what mapping the police use today but I'd be willing to bet it isn't Apple.

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post #32 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1 View Post

Amazing how people who know nothing about how POIs are collected, updated and verified can spew about how "simple" it is to add them and keep them accurate. Tom Tom and Navteq have been doing this for years and are still not perfect and will never be. Blindly trusting user inputs and corrections, as some suggest, is just stupid. People are idiots, malicious or both. They absolutely need to be validated. I love how one writer wrote that every state has a department of transportation, so it should be easy to get info. States only control the major state highways. Everything else, including the local info that people really need are controlled by the counties and towns. That includes the naming of streets. So, that is literally thousands of government departments to gather data from and hope that it is accurate. Even then, most do not store this information digitally. Another writer suggested that tax records be used to confirm business addresses. Really?! How many business addresses and DBAs are the same as the location and name of the business that customers actually go to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by realjustinlong View Post

I own a business and my business address and phone number that are filed by the city, state, and federal government are not my actual business address or phone number. It is a fairly common practice to have that info be your home address or in some cases your attorney's address (think forming your buisness in another state for tax/legal purposes). Or multiple locations of a buisness having a common address so all tax/legal contacts are in one place.

Not to mention that it would make me feel very uncomfortable of goverment agencies selling my buisness contact details to 3rd party businesses.

What Apple should do if they really want to go mainstream with their Maps is create a functionality similar to Google Places. where a user can submit a new buisness to the database and as a buisness owner I can verify ownership either by submitting a form of adding a bit of code to the website so that I now have control of what content is shown on my business listing. This would allow for the POI database to be expanded rapidly and would cut down on Apple's human verification factor.

Lol... that was me... up late and tired suggesting silly things like the Department of Transportation and Tax Records. Sorry 1biggrin.gif

My point was... it there not one place that already has this information?

Where did Google get it?

I know Google has cars taking pictures of nearly every road in the world. Do they have more people knocking on every business door asking for their information?

Or is it because of something like Google Places where it's up to the business owner to manually submit their information?

After some research on the matter... I found some suggestions for getting your business added to Apple Maps:

Factual
Localeze
Acxiom
OpenStreetMap
Yelp

You can submit your business information to those companies and they can help you get listed in Apple Maps. I guess that's the solution?
post #33 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

I like Ape Maps, but POI data is it's big weakness.

Accurate information has been hard to come by since the apes took over.

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GOA

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post #34 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think Google will continue to be the map leader for two main reasons. One, they can use their search data and apply it to maps, and two, they can use their Street View data and apply that to maps as well. They have all the data they need. Apple has none of that.

Apple has put itself in a serious bind with its absence from the search business. You can never be truly independent without your own search engine.
post #35 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

About time. The Yelp POI location data has been nothing short of an embarrassment, and the decision to rely on it was disgraceful.

If Apple wants to be in the map business (and it seems they do) then they need to belly up to the bar and do a full court press on their POI data. It's time to them take some accountability for this and get it fixed.

I agree 100%. 

 

I would just add that they should have done this from the beginning. Yes, it's expensive to collect good data. And it's expensive because you have to actually pay human beings a decent wage to do it -- you can't just write a clever program or deploy a robot. But Apple can clearly afford it, and given the scale they're operating at and the importance of Maps to customers, it's clearly a good investment. 

 

As time goes by, I think the evidence is building that getting rid of Scott Forstall has been a big positive for Apple, and that Tim Cook might be a very good CEO. 

post #36 of 79

That's a lot of calls. If they just took my original idea of fitting UPS/FedEX with iPads, we would have continued accuracy. 

post #37 of 79
I continue to rely on Google Maps rather than Apple Maps especially when traveling outside of the US. I find Google Maps to have a much quicker response time and more accurate data compared to Apple Maps. Apple Maps has a long way to go to be on par with Google Maps. I also find Apple Maps not very intelligent is rerouting capability when I take alternate routes compared to what is suggested by Apple Maps. Google Maps quickly calculates new routes once I deviate from the suggested routes.
post #38 of 79

My daughter bought a new house on a "lane" that is part of her HOA, not a city street. The city/county changed the name a couple times during her buying process causing all sorts of problems. The county assessor has the correct name and location yet the mapping companies don't seem to get street information from them. I talked to a person at a city government office and she had to contact someone else before everything finally was fixed but said the mapping companies don't update their databases except (maybe) twice a year. I don't believe there is a single source for mapping information although the assessor's office should be the most accurate information.

post #39 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

I like Ape Maps, but POI data is it's big weakness.

Accurate information has been hard to come by since the apes took over.


Did you try looking on your zither?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justbobf View Post

Apple's Map app is bereft of places. It seems they do pull most of their info from Yelp. But , I think there should be a simple and clear path to adding and fixing data directly within zither Map app.
post #40 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

That would be Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.
Glacier National Park is in Montana.

(Pedantry abounds!)

Sorry, you are correct, my bad.
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