Apple's new Maps app in OS X Mavericks extends tools for reporting, fixing errors

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Apple has brought its iOS Maps to OS X Mavericks, adding enhanced error reporting tools to leverage crowdsourcing in order to improve its mapping service, search results, location information and directions.

OS X Mavericks Maps
Source: Apple


The upcoming release of OS X Mavericks brings Apple's Maps to the Mac desktop in the form of a native app, giving it an enormous advantage over the web-only mapping services offered by Google, Nokia and others.

As a native Cocoa app, OS X Maverick Maps is blazing fast, supports familiar multitouch gestures like pinch to zoom, directly integrates with Contacts, syncs location Bookmarks with iCloud and can share locations and directions using standard Share Sheets via email, iMessage, nearby users with AirDrop or to Twitter and Facebook.

One of the primary notable features in OS X's new Maps app, as demonstrated by Apple's head of software engineering Craig Federighi at WWDC earlier this month, is the ability to plan a trip at home and then forward the route, via iCloud, directly to your iPhone for turn by turn directions in your car (below).

OS X Mavericks Maps
Source: Apple

Reporting maps errors made easier on the big screen

But another clear intent of putting Maps on the Mac involves leveraging lots of eyeballs to identify and report errors, something Apple has made easier to discover and do on the Mac when compared to smaller-screened mobile devices.

Apple has always included a way to "report a problem" in iOS 6 Maps, but because it does so in the context of Yelp local search information, it's not readily obvious that this button is for reporting map errors rather than just filing a grievance against a business or Yelp's data (below).

image


Additionally, once a user decides to report an issue, whether related to the contact information of a particular point of interest, an incorrect pin location or a nonexistent search result, the small size of a mobile device's screen also complicates this task.

On MacBook or Cinema Display, it's much easier to report an issue. Users can even open another window to perform a parallel search for the correct data of a particular location.

Where's the fire (station)?

Apple has also improved its Maps issue reporting process, a necessary function for a tool that depicts the entire globe and all of the changes, construction and location updates occurring by the millions every day.

One example of a significant, recent map change involves Fire Station 1, which was recently moved out of the way for an expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The museum contributed $10 million dollars to design and build a new station a couple blocks away, which was just completed a few months ago.

Apple Maps still shows the old location on Howard Street, information that's also incorrect on Yelp, where Apple gets the data. The change is recent enough that it doesn't yet even show up on the city's fire station map.

Google Maps
Source: Google Maps


Google Maps for iPhone, the current web version of Google Maps, and the new vector-based WebGL version of Google Maps that's now in beta (above) all pinpoint the station at its new location, at least if you explicitly search for "Fire Station 1." If you just search for "fire station," Google Maps shows you several surrounding locations but omits the new one.

All three versions also portray the site with outdated Street Views (below) that show (mostly obscured by trees at the street level) the previous building: the site of an illegal sweatshop the Feds shut down a decade ago.

Google Street View
Source: Google Maps


In Google's iOS Maps app (below top), you can see Street Views or, in standard satellite mode, you can see the building's roof. In the new web-only WebGL Google Maps beta, you can also see Google's Flyover-like view, although unlike Apple Maps, you can only view Google's 3D satellite images from fixed angles and the images are much lower quality.

Google Maps
Source: Google Maps

Google Maps
Source: Google Maps


Apple Maps also shows the old building on the new site (below). While Apple doesn't have Google's Street View images, it does pull street level, interior and other site relevant photos from Yelp and other sources for selected locations.

OS X Mavericks Maps
Source: Apple


In Flyover, you can also zoom in and around a 3D modeled satellite view of the old (below) and new sites, but as with Google's static satellite and Street Views, it's often hard to know how old the satellite images are and equally impossible to correct them on your own. You can, however, submit a report flagging an error, as described on the next page.

OS X Mavericks Maps
Source: Apple


Reporting a problem

With the Mac's increased screen size and windowing display, its now easier to report a problem in Maps. Apple presents "Report a Problem" in Maps application menu bar as well as in the detail panel of a selected location (below).

OS X Mavericks Maps


Reporting an issue presents a sheet featuring a drop down menu including "place does not exist," allowing you to simply note that the location has closed or enter a descriptive comment (below).

OS X Mavericks Maps


You can also select "information is incorrect" and suggest the correct data, which appears in red (below).

OS X Mavericks Maps


You can report a pin placed at a incorrect location, and drag it to the correct spot.

OS X Mavericks Maps


These are all things you can already report in iOS 6 Maps, although they're easier to perform on the Mac.

Reporting another problem

The new OS X Mavericks Map app also offers expanded, detailed issue reporting related to satellite images, labels, search and directions. For example, you can report a "problem with satellite image," noting that it is outdated, poor quality or enter a more specific problem (below) as well as positioning the map to show the problem you describe.

OS X Mavericks Maps


You can report an incorrectly labeled street or other feature (below), suggesting your own alternative.

OS X Mavericks Maps


You can also report an incorrect search result, selecting a particular pin as an "unexpected result," or noting that the results of a search selected the wrong pin.

OS X Mavericks Maps


Additionally, you can report a problem with the directions provided, specifying that the directions led to the wrong place, took longer than estimated, involved traffic or a closed road, or comment on another problem. You can even specify a problem with a specific step along the route, noting that it went the wrong way, involved a prohibited turn, a closed road or some other issue.

OS X Mavericks Maps

Apple's ambitious plans for Maps

OS X Maverick's new native Maps app and expanded reporting options demonstrate Apple's interest in rapidly improving upon the mapping service it launched last summer, when it debuted iOS 6 Maps using its own new 2D and 3D map and satellite visualizations, points of interest and directions with traffic information.

Apple was clearly aiming to free itself from dependance upon Google, which was already threatening to leverage its own Maps+Navigation as an Android exclusive over iOS the same way Microsoft used the popularity of its Office suite to entice Mac users to adopt Windows in the mid 1990s, similarly using exclusive features and better performance on its own platform to woo defection.

Rather than trying to replicate the existing Google Maps, Apple jumped upon the opportunity to introduce its own modern mapping service leveraging vector-based maps to enable enhanced offline use, as well as technology acquired with C3 to deliver 3D Flyover views.

Apple also partnered with a variety of third parties including Waze, TomTom for maps, DigitalGlobe for satellite imagery, reviews and points of interest from Yelp, and data supplied by NASA, European Space Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey and other American, Canadian, British and Australian government agencies. Compiling all of this information together on a global scale for iOS 6 Maps' debut last summer proved to be a massive undertaking.

Apple Maps immediately branded a failure, by Google

Despite years of coordinated work on Maps to replace Google's service, Apple's mapping efforts were often negatively reviewed for depicting flawed Flyover images, presenting incorrect place labels and delivering inferior or at least different search results.

When ExtremeTech compiled its five "biggest tech failures" of 2012, it listed Apple Maps alongside HP's $8.8 billion Autonomy disaster, Google's Nexus Q flop, Microsoft's Metro-rebranding that dragged down both Windows Phone and Windows 8, and BlackBerry's entire year of corporate collapse.

Google on Apple Maps


Search Google for "Apple Maps" and the first suggestion is "fail," a treatment that isn't applied to even massive technology boondoggles such as Microsoft's Zune, Palm webOS, or Google's own Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Nexus Q or Buzz.

Last winter, Google's Motorola even launched a misleading social network campaign using hashtag "#iLost" to denigrate Apple Maps.

image


Of course, a major reason behind the search engine's depiction of Apple Maps as a failure may likely be that the iOS 6 introduction of Apple Maps shifted Google Maps from getting nearly all iOS-related data related to millions of affluent users' maps, directions, traffic and location requests into the position of being an optionally downloaded, third party app that now claims, according to Onavo, only an estimated 34 percent of the iOS navigation app market.

Apple's move has also stripped Google of getting third party app developers' mapping referrals by default, making Onavo's ranking (based on users' active app use patterns) an optimistically conservative view of Google's Skyhooking at the hands of Apple Maps.

Given that 96 percent of the active installed base of iOS users have migrated to iOS 6, it's no wonder why Google is not happy about Apple launching its own maps at the expense of its own.

With Apple now putting its Maps on the desktop of 72 million Mac users, combined with easier to use issue reporting tools, Google will increasingly face competition with a more sophisticated product from Apple even as it stands to lose even more location-based web search traffic, particularly the data pertaining to a market segment covering 90 percent of PCs that sell for more than $1000.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Still don't understand why maps.appple.com doesn't exist.

    Interestingly, the address doesn't 404 though. :)
  • Reply 2 of 62
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member


    What if Google buy Yelp?

  • Reply 3 of 62
    thedbathedba Posts: 652member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RichL View Post



    Still don't understand why maps.appple.com doesn't exist.



    Interestingly, the address doesn't 404 though. image


    Maybe because you spelled apple with one "p" too many? image

  • Reply 4 of 62
    poksipoksi Posts: 482member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post


    What if Google buy Yelp?



     


    any sane anti-cartel commission should not allowed it. however, we live in insane world. what I miss are actually better maps. TomTom is not very good in some parts of Europe. still I like the product much more over Google's and I'm looking forward to success of desktop app. Apple will do better than Google here. As anywhere else. but what I would really like is Apple's Search...

  • Reply 5 of 62
    I already pushed the "report a problem" button on my Iphone 4-5 times in the last 9 months to inform that the telephon number of my business here in Luxembourg is wrong.
    Nothing changed :-(





  • Reply 6 of 62
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Wanna know a way that'll pretty much guarantee to get Maps on the desktop of every Mac bought in the past 5 years? 1. Included it as a default app in Mavericks. Check! 2. Make Mavericks a free download. Check?

    I think if Apple has any sense they'll release Mavericks for free. 1. They'll get everyone to install it. 2. It'll make the whole platform stronger. 3. It'll make Mac developers job far more streamlined, enticing, and easy. 4. It'll make buying a Mac more appealing: 'you mean to say I'll get cool new features and technologies and a new OS every year, for free!? Here's my credit card'. 5. It's good karma; it's good business.

    Here's the year where Apple can make history. Let's do it!

    In conclusion: of the people I know locally who have Macs, none of them have Mountain Lion installed. Yes: none of them. By making Mavericks free I can guarantee Apple that everyone I personally know will install it. Everyone I know with a Mac will be on Macericks. That's the bottom line. And that will apply to practically everyone everyone knows who has a Mac. That's the point! That's why 96% of iPhone users are on iOS 6: because it's free. And from that point on the same will apply to OS X. And that'll be a great thing!
  • Reply 7 of 62
    poksipoksi Posts: 482member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post



    Wanna know a way that'll pretty much guarantee to get Maps on the desktop of every Mac bought in the past 5 years? 1. Included it as a default app in Mavericks. Check! 2. Make Mavericks a free download. Check?



    I think if Apple has any sense they'll release Mavericks for free. 1. It'll give all its users great new features and technology for free. It'll get everyone to install it. It'll make the whole platform stronger. 4. It'll make Mac developers job far more streamlined, enticing, and easy. 5. It'll make buying a Mac more appealing: 'you mean to say I'll get cool new features and technologies and a new OS every year, for free!? Here's my check book. 6. It'll good karma; it's good business.



    Here's the year where Apple can make history. Let's do it!


     


    hell, why not free 15" retina for everybody! :)


     


    joke beside:


     


    1. Yes, by all means!


    2. What, it's already cheap compared to Windows. Making it free could make it look bad.

  • Reply 8 of 62
    poksipoksi Posts: 482member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Teamracer View Post



    I already pushed the "report a problem" button on my Iphone 4-5 times in the last 9 months to inform that the telephon number of my business here in Luxembourg is wrong.

    Nothing changed :-(









     


     


    there are zillions reports like that. they are being forwarded to content providers. they are most probably overwhelmed with such reclamations. they also need to check every info for accuracy not to repeat a problem or make it worse. I am not looking for excuses, I'm just trying to point out how this is all simple to you and hoe time consuming and complicated it may be for other side...

  • Reply 9 of 62
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    poksi wrote: »
    hell, why not free 15" retina for everybody! :)

    joke beside:

    1. Yes, by all means!
    2. What, it's already cheap compared to Windows. Making it free could make it look bad.

    I disagree. By that logic iCloud or iOS would look bad because they are free. Apple can market this a feature and use it as one more way to make fun of Microsoft. "This other company gets its partners to make your computer and then tries to rip you off with new OS install fees." "At Apple we make great computers, we charge for them, and then we take care of you." It's a great selling point.
  • Reply 10 of 62
    Apple Maps seems just fine to me... except for 1 glaring exception integrated public transit information. I believe Apple would be smart to add an extension architecture to Maps, that way added functionality or services can be added to the users 1 Maps app.
  • Reply 11 of 62
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    teamracer wrote: »
    I already pushed the "report a problem" button on my Iphone 4-5 times in the last 9 months to inform that the telephon number of my business here in Luxembourg is wrong.
    Nothing changed :-(

    I know! Didn't everyone? That's the problem. It's sort of a joke at this point. Apple should have hired 100 additional people simply to handle Maps error reports. They should have 100 people doing that full time there. They clearly don't. It's a no brainier.
  • Reply 12 of 62
    poksipoksi Posts: 482member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post





    I disagree. By that logic iCloud or iOS would look bad because they are free. Apple can market this a feature and use it as one more way to make fun of Microsoft. "This other company gets its partners to make your computer and then tries to rip you off with new OS install fees." "At Apple we make great computers, we charge for them, and then we take care of you." It's a great selling point.


     


    for now people are more or less still being prepared pay for the products and they expect to do so. however, services market is destroyed by google and apple itself tried to charge for MobileMe. Didn't work, so now iCloud is for free. As a user, of course: I'd live OS X for free as well!

  • Reply 13 of 62
    poksipoksi Posts: 482member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post





    I know! Didn't everyone? That's the problem. It's sort of a joke at this point. Apple should have hired 100 additional people simply to handle Maps error reports. They should have 100 people doing that full time there. They clearly don't. It's a no brainier.


     


    Doesn't Apple push this forward to content providers?

  • Reply 14 of 62
    When a user reports a map issue, how long after does the fix show up in the maps? 6 months?
  • Reply 15 of 62


    Does anyone know if you can edit routes (drag the route to a new waypoint) on the OSX Maps application similar to how you can edit routes in Google Maps? I would love to be able to do this.

  • Reply 16 of 62
    dugbugdugbug Posts: 283member
    This maps app will work great with the macbook/magic trackpad.
  • Reply 17 of 62
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by spoonyfork View Post


    Does anyone know if you can edit routes (drag the route to a new waypoint) on the OSX Maps application similar to how you can edit routes in Google Maps? I would love to be able to do this.



     


    I'm pretty sure we already have this function since the 1st version on iOS.

  • Reply 18 of 62
    dipdog3dipdog3 Posts: 89member


    You can report any problems in the Map app just fine on the iPhone. If anything is ever done with those reports, I don't know.

  • Reply 19 of 62
    dipdog3dipdog3 Posts: 89member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post



    When a user reports a map issue, how long after does the fix show up in the maps? 6 months?


     


    If any of the problems I have submitted ever get fixed, I'll let you know.

  • Reply 20 of 62
    dugbugdugbug Posts: 283member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DipDog3 View Post


     


    If any of the problems I have submitted ever get fixed, I'll let you know.



     


    Hear hear.


     


    I have submitted a problem like 10 times on a stupid ice cream stand that they forgot the 'North' part of the address is "123 somestreet North"  so its in somebody's house.  Its right on yelp and google.


     


    This was when ios 6 first came out, and its yet to be fixed.

Sign In or Register to comment.