Samsung subsidiary Mapzen hiring Apple cartographers, designers for maps initiative

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
Mapzen, a pioneering open source mapping project now backed by Samsung Research America, has hired a number of former Apple employees previously attached to Apple Maps, AppleInsider has learned.




A tipster pointed to former Apple cartographer Nathaniel Kelso, who left his position in May after two years on the job and took up with Mapzen in June as the firm's chief cartographer. Prior to working at Apple, Kelso was a design technologist at Stamen Design.

Another former Stamen designer, Geraldine Sarmiento, also joined Apple in 2013 and jumped to Mapzen within the past two months.

According to its website, Mapzen is dedicated to building a "healthy mapping ecosystem" through open source research and development. The lab is attached to Samsung Accelerator, the Korean tech conglomerate's experiment into cutting edge software and services.

With Kelso and Sarmiento, it appears Apple hired a handful of Stamen staff to help with Maps shortly after the service debuted in iOS 6, an ignominious launch criticized for incorrect positioning data, poor routing features and 3D Flyover rendering issues. Kelso came on in June 2013, six months after the introduction of Maps for iOS.

With a fairly mature set of 2D mapping assets, Apple is shifting focus to build-on services like Flyover, point-of-interest enhancements and features not available on rival platforms. Most recently, the company confirmed ownership of sensor-laden vans spotted throughout the U.S. and Europe, saying the vehicles are being deployed to improve Apple Maps. With a profile and equipment list similar to Google's Street View cars, some speculate Apple's vans are collecting data for a an in-house photo-based navigation service.

Taking the new direction into consideration, it is likely that Kelso, Sarmiento and other recent Maps team departures are simply moving on after successfully helping Apple get its mapping service off the ground.

As for Mapzen, Samsung's intentions for the open source project are unclear, but it is conceivable that technology gleaned from ongoing research will make its way into first-party software, perhaps as a whole-cloth mapping solution to go along with the open-source Tizen operating system.

Mapzen did not return a request for comment.

Neil Hughes contributed to this report.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    mubailimubaili Posts: 387member
    First Tizen, now Mapzen? Samsung is becoming a zen master? LOL.
  • Reply 2 of 44
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Hmm...this is interesting. This is what 9to5Mac reported last year regarding delays in Apple Maps updates:

    http://tinyurl.com/mkzh8tk

    [QUOTE]Why didn’t they appear? One tipster says it was a personnel issue: “Many developers left the company, no map improvements planned for iOS 8 release were finished in time. Mostly it was failure of project managers and engineering project managers, tasks were very badly planned, developers had to switch multiple times from project to project.”… It’s a take that is both contested and corroborated by our other source. “I would say that planning, project management and internal politics issues were a much more significant contributor to the failure to complete projects than developers leaving the group,” the source said.[/QUOTE]
  • Reply 3 of 44
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,332member
    What the hell is with putting "zen" at the end of everything. Samsung should really be taking up praying whilst kissing their own arses goodbye instead.
  • Reply 4 of 44
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    "has hired a number of former Apple employees previously attached to Apple Maps"

    Hmm. Any one with a name we might recognize, hmm…  ;)

  • Reply 5 of 44
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,985member
    I'm sure Google will have no problems with this development... at all... /s
  • Reply 6 of 44
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
  • Reply 7 of 44

    Samsung is screwed. They hired the people who made that sucky Apple Maps!  /s

  • Reply 8 of 44
    chaickachaicka Posts: 108member
    jkichline wrote: »
    What the hell is with putting "zen" at the end of everything. Samsung should really be taking up praying whilst kissing their own arses goodbye instead.

    Steve Jobs was into 'zen' at one point in time?
  • Reply 9 of 44
    moreckmoreck Posts: 187member
    Cool. It should only take them 5 years or so before this blossoms into a truly usable service. Way to get ahead of the curve, Sammy.
  • Reply 10 of 44
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    Hope the ex Apple staff have clipped them for plenty !

    Me too, all over again.

    Mystery Sammy vans suddenly appear ....
  • Reply 11 of 44
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    I'm sure Google will have no problems with this development... at all... /s

    Lmao

    Tizenbook in 3,2,1 ....
  • Reply 12 of 44
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,799member

    "Subsidiary of", or "backed by"?  I'd say those are two distinctly different things.

     

    I believe Mapzen is the latter; Samsung do not own them.

  • Reply 13 of 44
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,607member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

     

    "Subsidiary of", or "backed by"?  I'd say those are two distinctly different things.

     

    I believe Mapzen is the latter; Samsung do not own them.


     

    From the about menu om mapzen.com

     

    "Mapzen is an open source mapping lab building and supporting open data and software to promote a healthy mapping ecosystem. Based out of the Samsung Accelerator, we support the geo community through building tools and collaborating on open source mapping projects. We believe that a healthy mapping ecosystem is one that is diverse, sustainable, and accessible to all."

     

    They should have just been part of "OpenStreetMaps" which is looking better and better everyday.  http://www.openstreetmap.org

    The efforts would have been better organized to advance open source mapping.

  • Reply 14 of 44
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,414member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

    What the hell is with putting "zen" at the end of everything.

    What the hell is with putting "i" at the beginning of everything.  <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 15 of 44
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,135member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

     

     

    From the about menu om mapzen.com

     

    "Mapzen is an open source mapping lab building and supporting open data and software to promote a healthy mapping ecosystem. Based out of the Samsung Accelerator, we support the geo community through building tools and collaborating on open source mapping projects. We believe that a healthy mapping ecosystem is one that is diverse, sustainable, and accessible to all."

     

    They should have just been part of "OpenStreetMaps" which is looking better and better everyday.  http://www.openstreetmap.org

    The efforts would have been better organized to advance open source mapping.




    After reading the above responses, I decided to take a quick look at what the hired ex-Apple employees were working with for improvement. OpenStreetMap data is being used and may be presented in a different graphical manner...

     

    Now it’s even easier to get local data so you can start building cool stuff. Each week, we automatically extract the latestOpenStreetMap data into manageable, metro-area shapefiles in a variety of formats for you to use.

    I do not think the ex-Apple employees will try to duplicate Apple Maps. I think they will try to create something different in an attempt to rival or surpass Apple Maps. At a minimum that is what I would strive to do why my graphical mapping skills (if I had that set of skills) just to have some sense of self worth.

  • Reply 16 of 44
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,135member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by boredumb View Post

     

    What the hell is with putting "i" at the beginning of everything.  <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />




    Thankfully, the "i" is not being used to name new products and services. "Apple" has a nice ring to it. Apple Watch. Apple Music. Apple Television (for that Gene guy). 

  • Reply 17 of 44
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,437member
    crowley wrote: »
    "Subsidiary of", or "backed by"?  I'd say those are two distinctly different things.

    I believe Mapzen is the latter; Samsung do not own them.
    I believe they are a subsidiary of Samsung America
  • Reply 18 of 44
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    If you ever find yourself impressed by Google Maps or Apple Maps or Samsung's effort, just Google for "old maps." There are some really beautiful old ones that put our modern day maps to shame. Even though we have way better technology than they had, we seem to have lost the art of it.

  • Reply 19 of 44
    john12345john12345 Posts: 152member
    Probably fired Apple employees for screwing up the maps.
  • Reply 20 of 44
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,518member
    The issue with open source is lots of good ideas with no focus on what really matters and bring value. This is why Apple liked open source but they had the discipline to take was was valuable and leave the rest behind. The big complaint from the open source community was the fact Apple really did not give back. That because it tends to be a mess.
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