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Apple wants to completely rebuild Maps, ditch TomTom

by Brandon Russell | May 29, 2015May 29, 2015 4:00 pm PST

While Apple’s immediate plans are to add transit directions to Maps, 9to5Mac says the company is actually working to completely rebuild the experience from the ground up. Apple is reportedly building its own in-house mapping database, enlisting a fleet of vans to collect data for a 3D Street View feature; these vans have been deployed in a lot of major cities, with the goal of providing Apple with enough data to eventually ditch its reliance on TomTom.

Let’s face it, when Apple Maps launched in 2012, it was an unmitigated disaster, and hasn’t fared much better over the past several years; it has made some improvements, sure, but it’s nowhere near the quality of what you’d get from Google, or even Nokia HERE.

Apple set a roadmap to collect and deploy its own in-house base map database by 2017, according to 9to5Mac, which would mean it would no longer need TomTom and other third-party entities. Apple actually acquired BroadMap recently to help expedite the process. When all is said and done, we could see a completely different Maps application as early as 2018. That’s a long time to wait for an improved Maps experience, but it appears Apple is steadfast in its pursuit of creating its own mapping service without relying on anyone else.

One notable difference between Apple’s upcoming experience, and, say, something from Google, is that Street View will be handled differently. 9to5Mac says Apple executives don’t feel Google’s Street View is particularly intuitive, so it’s looking to build out its own unique solution. How it’ll differ from what we’re used to now is unclear, though I wonder if it’ll have anything to do with Force Touch.

9to5Mac says that Apple is also looking to expand its 3D Flyover, while also gathering enough data for exterior business shots so it no longer has to rely on Yelp. There are many more details in the report, so follow the source link to learn more. Basically, Apple is not only hoping to improve its Maps experience, but completely cut ties with the third party services it relies on for data.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...