Apple Maps team spotted doing on-foot sensor recon in San Francisco

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2018
In what appears to be a first for Apple, data collection for Apple Maps is now being done on foot and not just in vehicles, photos published on Friday reveal.

Apple Maps backpack


At least one person has been spotted roaming San Francisco with a large, Apple Maps-branded, sensor-laden backpack. The gear appears to be similar to that used on Apple's auto rigs, incorporating cameras, GPS, and LIDAR.

The photos were shared with MacRumors by reader Dante Cesa.

While it's uncertain why Apple is doing on-foot collection, the likely answer is an attempt to improve pedestrian directions in major cities. Apps like Apple Maps will often use a limited interpretation of where people can walk, resulting in unnecessary delays.

The company just recently deployed a new car to its recon fleet, the Subaru Impreza hatchback. Until recently the company had been depending solely on minivans.

In June, Apple finally revealed that its vehicles were being used to produce first-party mapping data. The company's Maps app started out with content from Google, but that was ditched in 2012 for a hodgepodge of sources including TomTom. Apple has frequently been criticized for missing or inaccurate information, even if complaints have diminished in the past six years.

As a part of its improvements, the company is hoping to be faster to cope with road and construction changes, while also displaying more detail.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,396member
    If there's something strange in you neighborhood,
    Who you gonna call? Apple Maps Dude!
    If there's something weird and it don't look good,
    Who you gonna call? Apple Maps Dude!

    These guys will stick to city streets to avoid crossing the stream.
    chasmStrangeDaysracerhomie3macguicornchipclaire1
  • Reply 2 of 49
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Wow.

    They're really serious about this.

    Oh, and before GoogleGuy points out that the mothership  has had mapping foot patrols for years, here are the two sh*ts I don't give.

    💩💩



    edited October 2018 andrewj5790lkruppappleismymiddlenamejbdragonchasmStrangeDaysbaconstangpalominecornchipclaire1
  • Reply 3 of 49
    he's lost! hahaha
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 49
    Comfortable. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 49
    My back hurts just looking at this! 
    genovelleappleheadjbdragonmwhiteGeorgeBMacbrian65plswatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 6 of 49
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,356member
    My back hurts just looking at this! 
    For real!!!
    byronl
  • Reply 7 of 49
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    Sorry to bring up a sore subject but Siri just sucks. I asked her on Wednesday to give me the address of a specific Kaiser Permenente location and she kept saying I found 11 locations near you, click on the one you want, however all the names were truncated so you could not determine which was which. I only wanted the one specific location which I asked for by name but she refused. Same thing when searching directly in Maps. Complete fail. I'm sure you can guess how I solved this problem.
    edited October 2018 baconstangcaladanianpatchythepiratebyronl
  • Reply 8 of 49
    That really looks like Apple may be taking some sort of street view in a serious way. I'd love to see Apple maps get a street view. I wish Apple could also map the NYC Greenway bicycle paths like Google Maps does.
    cornchipnetmageclaire1byronl
  • Reply 9 of 49
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,989member
    volcan said:
    Sorry to bring up a sore subject but Siri just sucks. I asked her on Wednesday to give me the address of a specific Kaiser Permenente location and she kept saying I found 11 locations near you, click on the one you want, however all the names were truncated so you could not determine which was which. I only wanted the one specific location which I asked for by name but she refused. Same thing when searching directly in Maps. Complete fail. I'm sure you can guess how I solved this problem.
    Really, nobody gives a rat’s patootie what you do.
    chasmStrangeDaysracerhomie3crossladclaire1watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 10 of 49
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    lkrupp said:
    Really, nobody gives a rat’s patootie what you do.
    So the poor functionality I described is just fine and dandy for you?
    netmagepatchythepiratebyronl
  • Reply 11 of 49
    volcan said:
    lkrupp said:
    Really, nobody gives a rat’s patootie what you do.
    So the poor functionality I described is just fine and dandy for you?
    Apple maps has been vastly superior to google maps since 2012.  Your complaints are not indicative of a serious problem.
    claire1lkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 49
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,982member
    Apple hard at work on its "Dear Google" letter.
    cornchipclaire1watto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 13 of 49
    volcan said:
    Sorry to bring up a sore subject but Siri just sucks. I asked her on Wednesday to give me the address of a specific Kaiser Permenente location and she kept saying I found 11 locations near you, click on the one you want, however all the names were truncated so you could not determine which was which. I only wanted the one specific location which I asked for by name but she refused. Same thing when searching directly in Maps. Complete fail. I'm sure you can guess how I solved this problem.
    What is the query so I may try it? 
    claire1watto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 14 of 49
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,467member
    volcan said:
    lkrupp said:
    Really, nobody gives a rat’s patootie what you do.
    So the poor functionality I described is just fine and dandy for you?
    The chances are quite high that the reason Siri couldn’t give you the information you wanted is because of the way you asked rather than it not knowing. I fully agree with you that Google Assistant or Google Maps does a better job of “guessing” what I mean when I ask it something that is slightly wrong — like saying I want the [business] on View Street when — due to it being on the corner of view and Quadra, it’s actual legal street address is on Quadra, for example — but Siri is relying on what you actually said rather than digging around in Google’s collection of all the places you’ve ever visited to work out what you actually meant.

    I’m not saying you made such a mistake necessarily, I’m saying that the only times I can duplicate that error is when I feed Siri incomplete information like that (or, as another example that happens to me fairly often, saying I want the [business] in [neighbourhood/village/region] name rather than its actual street name. Siri doesn’t yet seem to know colloquial/community/neighbourhood names too well, at least where I live).

    Your overall point that there’s room for improvement is accepted, even by lkrupp I suspect, but your comment wasn’t really relevant as part of an article about how Apple is continuing its efforts to improve Siri. If you’d said something along the lines of “I’m glad to see this, maybe it will help with Siri’s ability to understand my queries for specific branches of [business],” I doubt lkrupp would have been moved to comment.
    StrangeDayscornchipNotsofastclaire1watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 49
    They've been doing this for awhile. I saw a guy with a mapping camera on his back (just like the one pictured) walking around West Hollywood, CA MONTHS ago, I assumed it was common knowledge.
    cornchipclaire1watto_cobrapatchythepiratebyronl
  • Reply 16 of 49
    I love Apple as a company, its products, and prefer Maps when it gives me what I need. A recent 3 week + trip to Japan, it was Google the whole way. I want Apple Maps to succeed I really do. The less Google in my life the better.... The bigger problem for me is the time it takes to load, especially when using the desktop app. Don't get me started. And Volcan's complaint is (was??) a valid one. I had the same problem when asking directions to Costco when I first moved to Boise a few years back. Got more than one "possibility" (even though I gave the FULL ADDRESS) and the choices were truncated, so I couldn't choose the right one. That was three years ago though. Siri does fine with it now...
    baconstangracerhomie3netmagewatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 17 of 49
    What happened to FlyOver in Maps? Cannot see how to get it going.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 49
    volcan said:
    Sorry to bring up a sore subject but Siri just sucks. I asked her on Wednesday to give me the address of a specific Kaiser Permenente location and she kept saying I found 11 locations near you, click on the one you want, however all the names were truncated so you could not determine which was which. I only wanted the one specific location which I asked for by name but she refused. Same thing when searching directly in Maps. Complete fail. I'm sure you can guess how I solved this problem.
    That doesn’t sound like a problem wirh Siri. It sounds like Siri relaying poor information from Maps. Siri doesn’t know if the information is good or not, it’s just pulling from the source it’s pointed to. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 49
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    volcan said:
    Sorry to bring up a sore subject but Siri just sucks. I asked her on Wednesday to give me the address of a specific Kaiser Permenente location and she kept saying I found 11 locations near you, click on the one you want, however all the names were truncated so you could not determine which was which. I only wanted the one specific location which I asked for by name but she refused. Same thing when searching directly in Maps. Complete fail. I'm sure you can guess how I solved this problem.
    What is the query so I may try it? 
    You can demonstrate this issue very easily in your own city by making a query similar to this: What is the address of McDonalds restaurant on Main Street in your city. The problem is in both Maps and Siri. They ignore the details and just bring back everything within maybe 20 miles. In the case of the  Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Hills the name is too long for the results form and only the first part of the name is repeated and can’t be identified.

    My desire would be to return the exact match only, and I was being very accurate and specific. I don’t want all Kaiser locations just the one I asked for. They could always put a button to show more locations, but as with most Siri results don’t support conversational conditions. Once she gives you results she has completely forgotten the original query.

    In Google it didn’t even show the map at first. It just displayed the exact address as the first result much like it does if you ask a math formula query 
    edited October 2018 pascal007netmagepatchythepiratebyronl
  • Reply 20 of 49
    big kcbig kc Posts: 136member
    I hope this guy has an armed bodyguard or two escorting him around the streets of The City. If they're not careful, some miscreant is gonna take this guy out and steal his gear. The streets of SF are NOT a safe place to roam with anything that looks valuable. He also needs a spotter to ensure that he doesn't step into any of the human waste lining the streets.
    watto_cobrabyronl
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