Six years after Apple first introduced Apple Maps, it’s been revealed that the app is getting a major refresh.
Apple is rebuilding Apple Maps “from the ground up,” a report from TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzarino has revealed. Panzarino interviewed Apple executives and even rode along in Apple’s mapping van to learn about this major Maps refresh and how Apple plans to improve its mapping solution.
With the new Apple Maps, Apple will build its maps from scratch rather than rely on data from third-parties. The basic design of the Maps app will be similar to the current app, but there will be additional detail in the forms of grass, trees, parking lots, sports areas, and pedestrian pathways.
To help build its new maps, Apple is driving around Apple Maps vans that include GPS, four LiDAR arrays, 8 cameras capturing high-resolution images, and a physical measuring tool to track distance.
Once the new Apple Maps is rolled out to users, Apple can continue to update and improve its maps by gathering probe data from iPhones that navigate using Apple Maps. This probe data will be anonymized and will never capture the beginning or end of a trip, so that only random segments of a trip will be gathered by Apple. Any personal info, like notifications that tell you when to leave for your commute, are all handled on your device and not on Apple’s servers.
Users will be able to opt out of location services if they’d prefer not to send probe data to Apple.
The new Apple Maps will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area starting with the next iOS 12 beta release. It’ll cover Northern California this fall, and Apple says that it’ll continue rolling out its updated maps over the next year, going section by section in the U.S.
While Apple Maps has definitely improved over the past six years of its existence, it still has its issues and many people would agree that it’s not quite up to par with Google Maps. Apple seems to realize this, which is why it’s ditching the third-party services that it’s using for mapping and doing everything on its own. We’ll have to wait for the actual rollout of the new Apple Maps before we know how much better it is than the current service, but judging by today’s report, it looks and sounds like it’ll be more detailed and will be an overall improvement.
For much more information about the new Apple Maps and what Apple is doing to improve its mapping service, hit the links below.