Apple now labeling map data collection vehicles in the US, UK

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
Weeks after officially confirming the existence of a real-world data collection effort designed to bolster its mapping service, Apple has updated its fleet of sensor-loaded minivans with branding that makes them more clearly identifiable.


Spotted in Seattle by AppleInsider reader Fred Taub.


The minivans now sport a simple "Apple Maps" decal along the rear quarter panels, with the address of Apple's Maps microsite below. Both decals appear to be set in Myriad, Apple's marketing typeface of choice for years.

Apple affirmed the program's existence earlier this month with a new website that explains the purpose of the formerly-mysterious vehicles that have been spotted around the world for months. The company says data collected "will be used to improve Apple Maps," and provides an up-to-date list of locales where data will be collected in the immediate future.

When the vans first appeared in February of this year, many believed they were acting as testbeds for a secretive Apple autonomous vehicle project. While AppleInsider has reported the existence of such a program in a Silicon Valley suburb, the vans are not used for that purpose.

Instead, as we outlined in February, the vans are designed to collect detailed three-dimensional mapping data that will likely be used to improve Apple's 3D Flyover feature with new capabilities akin to Google's Street View. Apple has continued to invest in new technology for Maps in recent months, acquiring high-accuracy GPS firm Coherent Navigation and augmented reality company Metaio in May.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    I don't know why I found it so funny that it was necessary to point out the font that was used for the label.

    FUTURE NEWS: "Apple updates van label font to San Francisco"
  • Reply 2 of 29
    I don't know why I found it so funny that it was necessary to point out the font that was used for the label.

    FUTURE NEWS: "Apple updates van label font to San Francisco"

    I doubt it. They've used Myriad for a very long time. They changed the weight on it recently to a slimmer one, but kept it around.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,566member
    Good, had Apple done that to start with we wouldn't have had to read all the drivel on AI about Apple developing a Mini Van! LOL
  • Reply 4 of 29
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,262member
    Good, had Apple done that to start with we wouldn't have had to read all the drivel on AI about Apple developing a Mini Van! LOL

    yeap, they trying to put to bed the whole self driving cars story and I suspect people have been calling authorities about these vans with sensors on them claiming they are spying on them or something along those lines. Personnaly I like the apple solution over the google one with the huge pole atop of the car which make it a distraction on the highways. Apple solution is more subtle and not much of a distraction on the roads.
  • Reply 5 of 29
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    I don't know why I found it so funny that it was necessary to point out the font that was used for the label.

    FUTURE NEWS: "Apple updates van label font to San Francisco"

    because thats one of the things apple enthusiasts do -- talk about typefaces.

    welcome.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,566member
    maestro64 wrote: »
    yeap, they trying to put to bed the whole self driving cars story and I suspect people have been calling authorities about these vans with sensors on them claiming they are spying on them or something along those lines. Personnaly I like the apple solution over the google one with the huge pole atop of the car which make it a distraction on the highways. Apple solution is more subtle and not much of a distraction on the roads.

    To be honest it wasn't the ideas that it might be to do with 'self driving technology vehicles' in of itself that had me ROFL, it was that so many folks actually had conversations about it being a Mini Van and had long arguments about the merits of such a vehicle ... just based on the fact Apple was using Mini vans for the mapping project. Talk about 2 + 2 = 5! LOL
  • Reply 7 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,566member
    I don't know why I found it so funny that it was necessary to point out the font that was used for the label.

    FUTURE NEWS: "Apple updates van label font to San Francisco"

    Neither do I. Lack of knowledge perhaps?

    BTW that is not what happened or was said. Apple didn't update anything to San Francisco Font, there would have had to have been some text there before to update it. Apple added the text and used San Francisco Font. Apple 'updated the vans'. ... And yes, that is interesting news to Apple users that are in design work and there are lots of us. Just as when Apple paid $1M (I seem to recall that was the number) back in the 1990's for a new design that was 20% elongated (or condensed 80% if you prefer) Garamond to go with Helvetica Black to become the then look of Apple. Apple's design matters, if it didn't why does nearly everyone copy everything Apple does?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typography_of_Apple_Inc.
  • Reply 8 of 29
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,548member
    Nice try Apple. We all know you're developing the iVan.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,858member

    Well the Text in the Window is a little something.  Really understated and completely the opposite of Google's Cars which are all flashy.

  • Reply 10 of 29
    "Well-connected analyst with a strong track record says Apple rumored to replace the font on a new, slimmer Apple Maps Van 2.0 as new Google streetview camera-equipped cars loom."
  • Reply 11 of 29
    jungmark wrote: »
    Nice try Apple. We all know you're developing the iVan.

    I think Apple is planning to do something disruptive with maps ...

    This could include:
    • 3D Flyover enhancements and more sites
    • 3D Flythrough with drones
    • Simulated lighting, shadows -- positioning and time of day
    • Street View
    • Crowd-sourced images and videos
    • Indoor mapping
    • Seamless integration of the above.

    There have been great improvements to the mapping APIs available to developers -- almost anything you can do using the dedicated Apple Maps app (both iOS and OS X) can now be programmed within a developers app -- for example: Animated 3D Flyover tours in hybrid or Satellite view, routing, directions ...

    Some of the recently added Flyover cities such as Braga, Portugal * -- have much higher quality and more realistic detail than the 3D renderings of a year or 2 ago. Also, It appears that Apple is reprocessing some of its older Flyover data to give better results.

    * I swear the 3D effect of the Braga Tour seen on my 5K iMac could be used as a basis for a commmercial video. We rewatched the Movie Chef last night. They did a tour from Miami to LA -- hitting all the major cities, showing beautiful videos at each location. I am familiar with some of those places -- the raw footage was obviously processed to improve the look ... LA streets never looked that good!

    Someone, Maybe Apple or its Developers is going to figure out a way to monetize Apple' mapping offerings.

    It's popular to say that Apple will never catch up -- Google has a 5-10 year lead ...

    Someone here, I think it was @mstone, pointed out that maps are perishable -- you have to redo them [at least] every 5 years for them to have any value!
  • Reply 12 of 29
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,060member

    Just wanted to point out that it appears the "Apple Maps" label is NOT on the quarter panel, but on the window above the quarter panel.

  • Reply 13 of 29
    chadbag wrote: »
    Just wanted to point out that it appears the "Apple Maps" label is NOT on the quarter panel, but on the window above the quarter panel.

    Ha! A man who knows his automobiles!

    The big question, though -- Are those Apple Vans equipped with CarPlay :D
  • Reply 14 of 29
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post





    I doubt it. They've used Myriad for a very long time. They changed the weight on it recently to a slimmer one, but kept it around.



    Unless they made a derivative of Myriad there are only Regular and Light in the official Myriad Pro typeface, Opentype and Multiple Master Postscript. (there is also Semibold, Bold and Black obviously, but that wouldn't be slimmer).

     

    From what I am able to see in this low res image this van label appears to be Myriad Regular.

     

    </typographer nerd>

  • Reply 15 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,566member
    Ha! A man who knows his automobiles!

    The big question, though -- Are those Apple Vans equipped with CarPlay :D

    Of course!

    Here's hoping we never read the drivers used Google maps to find their way around! :D
  • Reply 16 of 29
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Of course!



    Here's hoping we never read the drivers used Google maps to find their way around! image



    I think Dodge uses NAVTEQ

     

    Quote:


    NAVTEQ maps drive the GPS DVD-based navigation systems available for Dodge vehicles. The maps cover more than 6 million miles of road in the U.S. and Canada and more than 8 million points of interest. And because roads, routes, and points-of-interest are ever-changing, you'll want to update your navigation system periodically with the latest information.

    If you'd like to purchase new, updated NAVTEQ DVD discs for your in-vehicle navigation system, visit your nearest Dodge dealer or click on the link below.

    go to navteq site






     

     

    I still like onboard nav systems better than trying to download data over cell network.

  • Reply 17 of 29
    Good idea to label the cars, to me this does make a difference who is about to collect data.

    On the font question: Until now, in iOS 9.0 (13A4280e) -- which is 9 beta 2, the SF font did not become part of device-wide available fonts (yet).
  • Reply 18 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,566member
    mstone wrote: »

    I think Dodge uses NAVTEQ



    I still like onboard nav systems better than trying to download data over cell network.

    My gripe with on board systems is they are out dated by the time you get them in looks, design and software. Plus you need to look at them. I just ask Siri on iPhone and let her talk to me although obviously that requires a reasonable signal. Roll on the day when 1 TB WiFi is everywhere by some wonderful new technology yet to be invented. :D
  • Reply 19 of 29
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    These vans are ugly though.

    Apple is picky with every single detail, especially aesthetics.

    Maybe they didn't want to label them at first for that reason but had to due to complaints and concern like someone else posted.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    My gripe with on board systems is they are out dated by the time you get them in looks, design and software. Plus you need to look at them. I just ask Siri on iPhone and let her talk to me although obviously that requires a reasonable signal. Roll on the day when 1 TB WiFi is everywhere by some wonderful new technology yet to be invented. image



    Unless you have an iPad mounted up high on the dash where a nav system would be, the temptation to look down at your tiny iPhone screen could be dangerous. All modern nav systems have turn by turn voice now. I was using an iPad in a vehicle that did not have a nav system, and you couldn't even hear it over the road noise. Sure we could have figured out how to connect it to the car speakers but we didn't have the correct cabling. We ended up missing a freeway interchange because of the bad audio quality.

     

    With a built-in nav system you obviously need to enter the destination by hand which is less convenient than Siri but because it eliminates letters as you enter the data you know you won't accidentally be routed to someplace in the middle of nowhere like can happen with Siri.

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