embark apple maps

Former Wall Street Journal tech reporter Jessica Lessin reports that Apple has bought up Embark, a public transit app company, in an effort to improve its own service. It’s unclear how much Cupertino paid for the small team of developers, but the company reportedly plans to integrate the technology directly into its own application.

Embark, which is based in Silicon Valley, previously worked building free mapping apps designed to direct smartphone owners through local public transit systems. The company was founded in 2011, and has created 10 apps for both Android and iOS. However, it now appears that Apple has discontinued Embark’s Android applications, though the iOS versions are still available for free download.

This isn’t the first online mapping company Apple has bought in the past year, but the purchase may prove particularly significant due to Embark’s focus on public transit, a gaping whole in Apple Maps. The company now owns three public transit apps, including the recently-acquired HopStop, so hopefully it should able to fully integrate subway and bus directions into its own official iOS app in the near future.