Apple is investing heavily in developing their own map database. They will eventually phase out their use of third party data providers. In the process they intend to create the best map app in the world.
“Since we introduced this six years ago — we won’t rehash all the issues we’ve had when we introduced it — we’ve done a huge investment in getting the map up to par,” says Apple SVP Eddy Cue, who now owns Apple Maps, in an interview last week. “When we launched, a lot of it was all about directions and getting to a certain place. Finding the place and getting directions to that place. We’ve done a huge investment of making millions of changes, adding millions of locations, updating the map and changing the map more frequently. All of those things over the past six years.”
Apple has built their own data collection vans. They are combining high resolution image data from the vans and satellites with 3D point clouds as well as panoramic images. They are using semantic segmentation and Lambertian Networks to analyze all of the data.
Apple is also building a toolkit so that human editors can make those final changes that can only be done in person. The editor’s suite will allow the human editors to make Apple Maps smarter about the last 50 feet of the journey.
The first release will be a preview of the San Francisco area in the next week.
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