Apple turns to contracted freelancers to help boost accuracy of Apple Maps data

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2017
Apple is reportedly using paid freelance contributions to help improve the accuracy of Apple Maps, and may kickstart a new phase in the work later this month.




In France at least, freelancers using a web app -- TryRating -- are being paid about 54 cents per short-form task, according to iGeneration. Workers are limited to 20 hours and 600 tasks per week, ensuring that it can't become a full-time job.

Rather than hiring and training people itself, Apple is said to be using subcontractors. Recruitment efforts are allegedly happening worldwide, although it's not clear what the pay rates are like outside of France.

People enrolled in the program are presented with search queries, asked to rate the results based on their relevance, and possibly correct any mistakes. According to an iGeneration source who did some of the work, people may end up tackling groups of results based on a similar place or theme.

Apple is said to be preparing a new tool and updated rules for June, enabling an influx of new tasks to work on. The verification system has reportedly been in place since at least Aug. 2016.

Apple Maps has often been criticized for inferior accuracy compared to Google Maps. Apple used Google mapping data until 2012, when it decided to strip the content out of iOS 6 in favor of various other sources. Results were so poor, initially, that there were many complaints about missing or mislabeled data -- authorities in Australia had to rescue people who Maps directed into a dangerous national park.

If it's not already, the company may soon be using drones for more regular content updates. At next week's WWDC keynote, it may also announce new features like indoor mapping, and enhanced car navigation such as better lane guidance.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,095member
    Ah, Mechanical Turk.... 
  • Reply 2 of 26
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,093member
    I find Apple to be pretty fast on Maps updates. I've put in several changes as there's lots of construction in my area (new condos going up) and I get a reply from them within a couple days that they've made the changes. Go check Maps and sure enough it's updated.
    cornchipjbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 26
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 298member
    The meme that Apple Maps is inferior to Google Maps is getting pretty tiring after 5 years - especially since in some (many?) cases it's actually not true anymore.  If I had to rate the two on pure (map data) accuracy, Google is still slightly ahead (most annoyingly, Google is still much faster in updating its maps when a flaw is reported - I know this from personal experience having reported a missing road to both companies).  Navigation wise, they're about equal and, to me at least, Apple Maps of late seems to have the edge on the currency of traffic data (on several trips now, Google still showed traffic congestion when Apple Maps already reflected a 'green' reality).  Google Maps sometimes picks better routes - Apple's estimate of remaining time to destination is more spot-on.

    During navigation, Apple Maps is far superior to Google Maps in battery conservation.  The former almost never causes my phone to run hot - the latter almost always - i.e., Google Maps sucks my battery dry at a much faster clip.

    Where Apple Maps is still much weaker than Google Maps is in searches for businesses or points of interest.  There are still many cases when Google Maps finds what I'm looking for after Apple Maps give me nothing.
    spinnydpatchythepiratecornchip
  • Reply 4 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,095member
    I find Apple to be pretty fast on Maps updates. I've put in several changes as there's lots of construction in my area (new condos going up) and I get a reply from them within a couple days that they've made the changes. Go check Maps and sure enough it's updated.
    Then those must be easily checked corrections. Easy changes to major roads can be done relatively fast since traffic flow is reported back to TomTom/Apple so that they can see traffic movement. The issue is for areas that aren't as easily verified. People submitting fake changes have always been a problem.
    Fact: People have been known to submit a map change for a much lower than factual speed limit to try and slow down drivers thru their neighborhood. Others have submitted supposedly changes that show no thru-traffic on their street. Still others have sent in fake changes so that some competing business has no easy way to get to it. Others just like making problems. 

    So without outside verification that what you submitted is actually correct Apple (Tomtom?) would be making a big boo-boo, making Maps worse rather than better
    patchythepiraterandominternetpersonbshankjbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 26
    joe28753joe28753 Posts: 76member
    tjwolf said:
    The meme that Apple Maps is inferior to Google Maps is getting pretty tiring after 5 years - especially since in some (many?) cases it's actually not true anymore.  If I had to rate the two on pure (map data) accuracy, Google is still slightly ahead (most annoyingly, Google is still much faster in updating its maps when a flaw is reported - I know this from personal experience having reported a missing road to both companies).  Navigation wise, they're about equal and, to me at least, Apple Maps of late seems to have the edge on the currency of traffic data (on several trips now, Google still showed traffic congestion when Apple Maps already reflected a 'green' reality).  Google Maps sometimes picks better routes - Apple's estimate of remaining time to destination is more spot-on.

    During navigation, Apple Maps is far superior to Google Maps in battery conservation.  The former almost never causes my phone to run hot - the latter almost always - i.e., Google Maps sucks my battery dry at a much faster clip.

    Where Apple Maps is still much weaker than Google Maps is in searches for businesses or points of interest.  There are still many cases when Google Maps finds what I'm looking for after Apple Maps give me nothing.
    I believe my experience echoes yours. I've recently started using Apple Maps as my main navigator because I've now got Apple CarPlay in my car and can't use Google Maps. I agree that for navigation, Apple is usually equal, more or less sometimes. I have seen a few quirky Apple Maps road / navigation issues that I've reported, and haven't been updated after months of waiting. As I understand it, they share data with TomTom and share data back and forth at some interval. I actually reported my issues directly to TomTom and they say "Fixed" but haven't been reflected on Apple Maps yet. Anyway, it's good enough to use 95% of the time I'd say. However, I still keep Google Maps installed, because it's absolutely the only way I search for new restaurants I want to try, or read reviews of these restaurants, or look up busy times and peak rush times etc. Then once I find where I want to go, I can navigate with Apple Maps in CarPlay.
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 6 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member
    I find Apple to be pretty fast on Maps updates. I've put in several changes as there's lots of construction in my area (new condos going up) and I get a reply from them within a couple days that they've made the changes. Go check Maps and sure enough it's updated.
    I wish I could say the same. I've only come across a couple errors—and I use Maps exclusively—but it still has incorrect or impossible directions.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member

    joe28753 said:
    tjwolf said:
    The meme that Apple Maps is inferior to Google Maps is getting pretty tiring after 5 years - especially since in some (many?) cases it's actually not true anymore.  If I had to rate the two on pure (map data) accuracy, Google is still slightly ahead (most annoyingly, Google is still much faster in updating its maps when a flaw is reported - I know this from personal experience having reported a missing road to both companies).  Navigation wise, they're about equal and, to me at least, Apple Maps of late seems to have the edge on the currency of traffic data (on several trips now, Google still showed traffic congestion when Apple Maps already reflected a 'green' reality).  Google Maps sometimes picks better routes - Apple's estimate of remaining time to destination is more spot-on.

    During navigation, Apple Maps is far superior to Google Maps in battery conservation.  The former almost never causes my phone to run hot - the latter almost always - i.e., Google Maps sucks my battery dry at a much faster clip.

    Where Apple Maps is still much weaker than Google Maps is in searches for businesses or points of interest.  There are still many cases when Google Maps finds what I'm looking for after Apple Maps give me nothing.
    I believe my experience echoes yours. I've recently started using Apple Maps as my main navigator because I've now got Apple CarPlay in my car and can't use Google Maps. I agree that for navigation, Apple is usually equal, more or less sometimes. I have seen a few quirky Apple Maps road / navigation issues that I've reported, and haven't been updated after months of waiting. As I understand it, they share data with TomTom and share data back and forth at some interval. I actually reported my issues directly to TomTom and they say "Fixed" but haven't been reflected on Apple Maps yet. Anyway, it's good enough to use 95% of the time I'd say. However, I still keep Google Maps installed, because it's absolutely the only way I search for new restaurants I want to try, or read reviews of these restaurants, or look up busy times and peak rush times etc. Then once I find where I want to go, I can navigate with Apple Maps in CarPlay.
    I don't know to what extent Apple utilizes services (e.g.: they clearly don't use all of Waze's features even though Waze is a partner), but they do have an extensive list of partners for Maps.

  • Reply 8 of 26
    waltgwaltg Posts: 90member
    I still find Apple maps as well as Siri disappointingly way behind the google offerings. While I have all Apple gear now I find this very upsetting. While on a resent road trip I used not only the gps but google maps on my iPhone at the same time to find my way. I guess if your just interstate trolling along Apple maps would be ok but a 2 week trip strictly off interstates, that is what was needed.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,791member
    waltg said:
    I still find Apple maps as well as Siri disappointingly way behind the google offerings. While I have all Apple gear now I find this very upsetting. While on a resent road trip I used not only the gps but google maps on my iPhone at the same time to find my way. I guess if your just interstate trolling along Apple maps would be ok but a 2 week trip strictly off interstates, that is what was needed.
    There is a way to avoid highways and toll roads.

    Open the Settings app on iPhone. 
    Tap Maps. 
    Tap Driving & Navigation.
    Toggle on avoid highways.
    edited June 2017 Soli
  • Reply 10 of 26
    dachardachar Posts: 330member
    tjwolf said:

    Google is still much faster in updating its maps when a flaw is reported - I know this from personal experience having reported a missing road to both companies).  
     My experience is the exact opposite. I reported missing roads and 50-100 new house to both Apple and Google. Apple updated within a few days. Despite a number of requests it took Google 2-3 years to do the same update. 
    bb-15bshankjbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 26

    What's the best way to report issues to Apple?  Is there an official method?

    The only problem I had when Maps was when I used a parking app and the address they provided was to an unpaved lot off an access road.  Maps had me driving around in circles (thanks to one way streets in this area) before I gave up and thought to try Google Maps.  I was disappointed that Google nailed it whereas according to Maps I was off roading.

  • Reply 12 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member

    What's the best way to report issues to Apple?  Is there an official method?

    The only problem I had when Maps was when I used a parking app and the address they provided was to an unpaved lot off an access road.  Maps had me driving around in circles (thanks to one way streets in this area) before I gave up and thought to try Google Maps.  I was disappointed that Google nailed it whereas according to Maps I was off roading.

    Right through the Maps app. With any Marked Location you can have the options to "Add a Place," "Address in incorrect," or "Other issue."
  • Reply 13 of 26
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,870member
    One feature that should be added to Maps is the ability to report incidences and cop locations like Waze.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 14 of 26
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,923member
    waltg said:
    I still find Apple maps as well as Siri disappointingly way behind the google offerings. While I have all Apple gear now I find this very upsetting. While on a resent road trip I used not only the gps but google maps on my iPhone at the same time to find my way. I guess if your just interstate trolling along Apple maps would be ok but a 2 week trip strictly off interstates, that is what was needed.
    Who does that?! And why would you expect any navigation system to default to off-highway. Most people are looking to get where they're going as quickly and easily as possible. Companies like Apple and Google design products to help the most people, most of the time. Not outliers with odd use cases. And as Volcan mentioned, it is easy enough to turn off highways if you want.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member
    One feature that should be added to Maps is the ability to report incidences and cop locations like Waze.
    That would be nice, but I doubt the location of law enforcement will ever happen as part of the native app. Maybe if they ever open it up so that there are Maps plugins, like we have for Messages and keyboards.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,791member
    Soli said:
    One feature that should be added to Maps is the ability to report incidences and cop locations like Waze.
    That would be nice, but I doubt the location of law enforcement will ever happen as part of the native app. Maybe if they ever open it up so that there are Maps plugins, like we have for Messages and keyboards.
    Waze only reports police activity such as assisting with an accident location, not speed traps.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,095member
    volcan said:
    Soli said:
    One feature that should be added to Maps is the ability to report incidences and cop locations like Waze.
    That would be nice, but I doubt the location of law enforcement will ever happen as part of the native app. Maybe if they ever open it up so that there are Maps plugins, like we have for Messages and keyboards.
    Waze only reports police activity such as assisting with an accident location, not speed traps.
    When did that change? AFAIK it was something Waze encouraged users to report. Police at one time were actually posting fake "speed trap" info to Waze in some cases to slow folks down. 
    edited June 2017 bshank
  • Reply 18 of 26
    Soli said:

    What's the best way to report issues to Apple?  Is there an official method?

    The only problem I had when Maps was when I used a parking app and the address they provided was to an unpaved lot off an access road.  Maps had me driving around in circles (thanks to one way streets in this area) before I gave up and thought to try Google Maps.  I was disappointed that Google nailed it whereas according to Maps I was off roading.

    Right through the Maps app. With any Marked Location you can have the options to "Add a Place," "Address in incorrect," or "Other issue."

    Thanks.  I don't see those exact options, but "Report an Issue" is at the very bottom of the "page."  I hadn't realized it was there.  Now I can be a better data citizen.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    uroshnoruroshnor Posts: 84member
    It really depends on where you are as to which is better. I do a lot of international travel, and  there are countries where Apple Maps is significantly better across the board, but in a lit of places they appear to be mostly the same quality level, with Google better at some things an Apple Maps at others. One area where Google often seems to be ahead outside California is on POI data . However , I do find Siri / CarPlay is really bad at searching. e.g. presenting US locations ahead of Australian locations in search results when in Australia, or seeming to need magic phrasing in the verbal to get the right results displayed.
    bb-15
  • Reply 20 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,258member
    Soli said:

    What's the best way to report issues to Apple?  Is there an official method?

    The only problem I had when Maps was when I used a parking app and the address they provided was to an unpaved lot off an access road.  Maps had me driving around in circles (thanks to one way streets in this area) before I gave up and thought to try Google Maps.  I was disappointed that Google nailed it whereas according to Maps I was off roading.

    Right through the Maps app. With any Marked Location you can have the options to "Add a Place," "Address in incorrect," or "Other issue."
    Thanks.  I don't see those exact options, but "Report an Issue" is at the very bottom of the "page."  I hadn't realized it was there.  Now I can be a better data citizen.
    Right, you click on "Report an issue" and then you get those options.
    edited June 2017
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