Friday, August 9, 2019

Apple Maps in iOS 13

Ryan Christoffel:

Timed with the spread of its first-party mapping data, Apple is giving the Maps app a big upgrade in iOS 13 that represents the company’s biggest push yet to overtake Google Maps as the world’s most trusted, go-to mapping service.


The hallmark feature of iOS 13's Maps is Look Around, which serves as a direct competitor to Google's popular Street View. It enables viewing and moving through a 3D representation of the world from the perspective of a car on the road. Google launched Street View over 12 years ago, so Apple is laughingly late to the game with Look Around, but it aims to atone for its delay by offering a more modern, elegant experience than Google.

Outside of Look Around, some of the biggest changes in the new Maps app reside in an improved navigation panel. Favorites have been revamped and made more accessible, while a new Collections feature makes it easy to save groups of locations for revisiting later.

What I really want to know: how is the basic map data?

Clark Goble:

Regarding rural driving - people not used to driving in open areas don’t quite understand the problem. Most places don’t have addresses so turn by turn is useless or highly inaccurate. So directions refer to roads but when zoomed out you can’t see any of the roads.

This isn’t a problem in the city, but I wish both Apple and Google would just have an option to display secondary roads. Both also confuse paved secondary roads, dirt roads, and OHV dirt roads.


Update (2019-08-13): Craig Grannell:

I’ve used the new Apple Maps quite a bit, and it is an improvement. Apple’s Street View rip-off, ‘Look Around’, not only sounds like a terrible 1970s BBC family TV show, but it’s smoother and more useful (what with inline POIs) than Google’s equivalent. Also, Apple now gives you shareable collections, and still actually knows what colour roads are supposed to be on maps in the UK. (Hint, Google: motorways are BLUE; A roads are GREEN.)

But the wheels come off unless you’re living in a big US city, and armed with as much data as your phone can eat – on a connection that never dies. Head beyond a handful of US cities and Look Around vanishes entirely. The lack of a map download option means Apple Maps is effectively useless unless you’re online.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

“What I really want to know: how is the basic map data?”
What I really want to know: has Apple learned the lesson Google inherited with Waze? And that is, if they alone stand in the way of map changes getting done, they’ll never succeed. The last time I merely needed to get Apple to move a customer’s house across the road, 400 yards west, and change the street name for a mile (all Apple mapping errors), it took nine months and 6 requests. Meanwhile, client couldn’t use certain apps that tied location to payment address, because at home “he wasn’t home”. We began to joke that getting the township to change the info irl might just be quicker than getting Apple Maps to make the clearly communicated requested change.
All the while Google had the info correct because I’d made a very slight change with Google Map Maker, one of hundreds I’ve made, the night he complained of the problem, sitting over beers.

I am very unhappy with the readability of Apple Maps. In Central Europe, i.e. in densely populated areas, primary roads and secondary roads have the same appearance since the release of Apple Maps. You can't tell the difference with Apple Maps. Different types of roads (freeways, highways), with the exception of country roads, are shown in yellow and often with the same thickness. There are also disappearing and wandering labels.

In the UK, for example, the problem does not exist; A roads are green, M roads are blue and the other roads are white or yellow. But in Central Europe you only see a lot of yellow lines where you don't know if it's a multi-lane motorway or a simple federal road. This is a problem that does not exist on Google Maps.

Last correction I sent to Apple they fixed in just a couple of days. I have a bunch I keep meaning to send in but forget (primarily OWD roads being treated like paved roads including for turn by turn)

What I really want to know is: when will we get speed limit data in Australia?

@fuchs wide roads are distinguished from more narrow ones already by thickness. Needing color codes to understand that is a problem limited to a very narrow subset of the population. I have been driving all over Europe with Apple Maps without problems. Different story with businesses where AM is often lacking accuracy.

Apple Maps still sucks. One main reason? They don't show business districts, so there's no way to tell where the popular shopping / nightlife / restaurant spots in a city are vs residential areas. You look at a city in Apple Maps, and it's just a bunch of grey nothing. In Google maps, there are clusters of tan areas that show where the action is. This is not trivial. Apple Maps also shows all roads as white, with no hierarchy of color like on Google (where orange is major highway/interstate, yellow is major arterial, white is a regular city street). Apple Maps simply looks dead and gives you zero sense of what's actually around you (other than green for parks --- whoop dee doo). How have they not fixed this after 7 years?

Even in San Francisco, which is supposed to have the new maps (right?) it looks terrible and lifeless. And for some weird reason, they think that showing the location of Hospitals and Cathedrals is super important -- WTF?

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