Apple launched their own Maps as part of iOS 6, and there has been enough criticism for Apple CEO Tim Cook to apologize for the shortcomings. Knowing Apple, it’s all hands on deck working to improve iOS 6 Maps, with some reports claiming the Maps engineering staff is on lockdown mode. Today, there’s been a big push from Apple out to users with brand new data for their Maps. The easily noticeable highlights include new 3D Flyover imagery for New York City, London, Honolulu, San Diego, and the San Fernando Valley in Southern California among others.
The most noteworthy criticisms have revolved around the 3D view of major points of interest with a flat Statue of Liberty and melting Brooklyn Bridge. Now both items have seen updates with the true 3D Flyover mode that is based on the imagery from C3 Technologies. These two examples are very well known, but there are also more widespread Flyover views of the smaller Burroughs of New York, and the San Fernando Valley, which is an example of residential neighborhoods in 3D. Apple could fix a number of obvious glitches by removing the 3D button unless the Flyover imagery is actually present, but that change isn’t today.
Besides the most noticeable items, there are a number of subtle changes to add more details to relatively remote locations. Most of the changes further enhance the US data, although the main problems come from the lack of map data outside the US. It’s also worth noting that Apple’s new Maps have vector tiles and intelligent caches, so the new data isn’t available to everyone at the moment, as Apple has cached data you’ve previously looked at for some offline support. Give it time, and the changes will be slowly rolled out to you. As we go forward, Apple will likely push out new data subtly every so often. Maps is a gigantic undertaking, and we shall see where Apple’s Maps are by iOS 7 with continued improvements and crowd sourced feedback as there’s a lot of work to be done globally.