Apple job listing confirms plans to bring public transit info to its Maps service

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2015
Apple is indeed working on bringing public transit directions back into its Maps apps for iOS and OS X, following a nearly three-year absence since the iPhone maker abandoned data from Google Maps, an official job listing confirmed on Tuesday.




The company is searching for a software engineer who will join the Maps division's Routing team. The new job listing was discovered by AppleInsider.

"As a member of the Routing team, you will work on one of the most anticipated features of Apple Maps," the listing states. In requirements, the company directly asks for someone with "in-depth knowledge about public transit," both as a rider and on a technical level.

Until the iOS 6 version of Maps, transit directions were a popular integrated feature. That update stripped out Google content in favor of Apple's own, but in so doing eliminated not just transit options but other mainstay functions, such as Street View. Despite Apple's attempts at improving iOS, the independent version of Google Maps remains one of the most popular downloads at the App Store.

Rumors once suggested that public transit would make a comeback with iOS 8, but option has so far failed to materialize even in subsequent point updates. The delay has been blamed on bad planning, office politics, and developers leaving Apple entirely.

The company could announce Maps upgrades at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, which starts June 8. Any changes would presumably be linked to iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, preview versions of which are expected to be the focal points of Apple's keynote presentation.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    prolineproline Posts: 188member
    "The iPhone maker abandoned data from Google Maps" is a major mischaracterization of what happened. Apple's agreement with Google expired, and Google refused to renew without provisions entitling them to more user data and keeping driving directions off Apple's platform. A better line would be "Apple was forced to use alternative data after Google offered terms that no reasonable person would accept".
  • Reply 2 of 23
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by proline View Post



    "The iPhone maker abandoned data from Google Maps" is a major mischaracterization of what happened. Apple's agreement with Google expired, and Google refused to renew without provisions entitling them to more user data and keeping driving directions off Apple's platform. A better line would be "Apple was forced to use alternative data after Google offered terms that no reasonable person would accept".



    Is that what really happened? Where can I get a link to that info? I'd like to read details of the negotiations.

  • Reply 3 of 23
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,718member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Apple is indeed working on bringing public transit directions back into its Maps apps for iOS and OS X, following a nearly three-year absence since the iPhone maker abandoned data from Google Maps, an official job listing confirmed on Tuesday.

     

    File under "A" for "About damned time"

  • Reply 4 of 23
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member

    Still find it's the search that lets Maps down.  Transit will be a BIG addition (especially when you're using it on the Watch), but the search needs some further improvements.  I continue to have more success finding what I'm looking for in Google Maps.

  • Reply 5 of 23
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

     

    Still find it's the search that lets Maps down.  Transit will be a BIG addition (especially when you're using it on the Watch), but the search needs some further improvements.  I continue to have more success finding what I'm looking for in Google Maps.




    I agree. Apple Maps just doesn't have the data.

     

     Ingye-dong, Paldal-gu Suwon Gyeonggi

  • Reply 6 of 23
    wubbuswubbus Posts: 70member

    On a somewhat related note, is there not a way to avoid toll roads, highways etc when navigating on Apple Maps?  I know it tells you when you are given a route that uses tolls and you could select an alternative.  But am I missing these options somewhere in the settings?

  • Reply 7 of 23
    I hoped Transit would come with iOS 9, but I imagine NOT if they're just advertising for this job now.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 411member

    Nothing new. A friend of mine has been working at Apple on this project for at least a year.

     

    Still, I agree that Apple Maps is still vastly inferior to Google's.

  • Reply 9 of 23
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,241member
    slprescott wrote: »
    I hoped Transit would come with iOS 9, but I imagine NOT if they're just advertising for this job now.

    They're expanding resources, not just starting the project.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    prolineproline Posts: 188member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     



    Is that what really happened? Where can I get a link to that info? I'd like to read details of the negotiations.




    Here's one to get you started.

  • Reply 11 of 23
    carthusiacarthusia Posts: 561member

    Don't get me started on this...New York City Maps.app search and POI data are abysmal. The subway information, in particular, is horrid.

     

    Yes, the Maps team is likely doing a lot of ground-up work, but c'mon. There are roughly 468 subway stations in New York City. When you go to Apple Maps and zoom in on a subway station icon, you'll note that you'll see the street intersection information for where the station is located, but not the subway letter or number of the lines that move through or terminate at that station. 

     

    Listen, I could add the subway lines to those maps in a week. Since Maps launched, Apple has not taken the time to simply add the number/letter of the subway line for stations in the Maps.app. Why? The largest subway system in the U. S. and one of the largest in the world-utterly shameful. This project must be completely mismanaged or just plain forgotten. Why not post some incremental updates to critical data as they're readying their perennially-rumored re-vamped Maps?

  • Reply 12 of 23
    woochiferwoochifer Posts: 365member

    Apple acquired HopStop in summer 2013. HopStop was a decent app for transit directions that was available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. No surprise that after the acquisition, Apple pulled the Android and Windows versions.

     

    With the acquisition, I thought Apple would integrate HopStop into Maps, or at least keep improving it and start aligning the app more with what they were looking to do with Maps. But, HopStop hasn't been updated since November 2013, and I have no idea how or if they intend to use HopStop. While HopStop has added new cities to their transit listings, the apps have languished. And frankly, the transit directions for my area have become useless, with one of the major bus transit agencies removed from HopStop's listings.

     

    It's almost as if transit directions did not make the cut with iOS 8, and now everything along those lines has gone dark with Apple. Not sure where Apple's going with this, but letting HopStop rot does nothing but push more iOS users towards Google Maps in the meantime.

  • Reply 13 of 23
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post

     

    Apple acquired HopStop in summer 2013. HopStop was a decent app for transit directions that was available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. No surprise that after the acquisition, Apple pulled the Android and Windows versions.

     

    With the acquisition, I thought Apple would integrate HopStop into Maps, or at least keep improving it and start aligning the app more with what they were looking to do with Maps. But, HopStop hasn't been updated since November 2013, and I have no idea how or if they intend to use HopStop. While HopStop has added new cities to their transit listings, the apps have languished. And frankly, the transit directions for my area have become useless, with one of the major bus transit agencies removed from HopStop's listings.

     

    It's almost as if transit directions did not make the cut with iOS 8, and now everything along those lines has gone dark with Apple. Not sure where Apple's going with this, but letting HopStop rot does nothing but push more iOS users towards Google Maps in the meantime.




    The team could be working on Apple Map and has no time with the app itself? I guess that's likely an explanation.

  • Reply 14 of 23
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member

    Three years too late.  Apple Maps is still inaccurate.  So many streets are incorrect in Los Angeles.  Remember, Scott Forstall got his ass fired because of this mistake.  The desktop version does not even allow you to select an alternate route, something so basic, but omitted by Apple.

  • Reply 15 of 23
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,016member
    proline wrote: »
    "The iPhone maker abandoned data from Google Maps" is a major mischaracterization of what happened. Apple's agreement with Google expired, and Google refused to renew without provisions entitling them to more user data and keeping driving directions off Apple's platform. A better line would be "Apple was forced to use alternative data after Google offered terms that no reasonable person would accept".
    That article you quoted provides zero evidence for any assertion you made.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    They still haven't added transit directions to the thing? Wow.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    idreyidrey Posts: 640member
    Still find it's the search that lets Maps down.  Transit will be a BIG addition (especially when you're using it on the Watch), but the search needs some further improvements.  I continue to have more success finding what I'm looking for in Google Maps.

    Well Google has a lot more years doing it, maps is still a work in progress. I am pretty please with maps, is not the best but it works good for me about 98% of the time. ? keeps up the good work and they might just become the bests maps out there.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    ajmasajmas Posts: 555member
    slprescott wrote: »
    I hoped Transit would come with iOS 9, but I imagine NOT if they're just advertising for this job now.

    Or just get the app by the same name. IMO, it is one of the better ones out there and it covers so many cities - disclaimer: no financial interests in the app and no idea how the developers cover their costs.

    With the availability of so much open data, such as via GTFS, dealing with public transport time tables and routing is so much easier and accessible to developers.

    I am really surprised Apple took so long, but I suppose getting Apple Maps stable was their first priority? Labelling of metro stations would be a good start.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,437member

    Apple Maps already shows some transit information:   

     

    In NYC, Maps does show the location of subway stations.   They don't tell you what line and they don't provide routing directions, but at least they show you the locations of the stations.   They are also showing the locations of Long Island Railroad stations.

     

    I also see the subway stops for Chicago, Los Angeles and London.

     

    I just checked Boston and I don't see any T stops, but I also see far fewer businesses listed on the Boston maps.   With all the college students, you'd think Boston would be a place that would have some priority.   

     

    In terms of getting train information into Maps, that should have been a no-brainer.  How hard would it have been to go online and download the subway maps of every major city in the world and have a few clerks enter the location information into a database?   And entering route information shouldn't have been all that much harder.      

  • Reply 20 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     



    Is that what really happened? Where can I get a link to that info? I'd like to read details of the negotiations.


    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/11/apple-maps-google-iphone-users

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