Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Apple’s New Map Expands to Midwest and Western U.S.

Justin O’Beirne (Hacker News):

All of this suggests that Apple might be using iPhone probe data to determine which roads to show on its map. And if that’s the case, it helps explain why so many rural and less traveled roads have been downgraded or dropped from certain zooms[…]

That doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Because of data licensing restrictions, Apple likely can’t use traffic data derived from the old map in order to make the new one. So Apple might be seeding new map areas to get traffic information that it can feed back into the map for road prioritization.

And if you watch how the new map has been changing while Apple has been “testing” it, this seems to be what Apple is doing. As time goes on (and as Apple accumulates traffic information), more and more roads are upgraded to arterials[…]


Given the pace of Apple’s U.S. expansion, it seems that Apple’s initial map, which it had spent four years making (and had hints of human labor), served as a training set for the extraction algorithms that are now accelerating Apple’s mapmaking effort.

And if that’s the case, it explains why Apple still expects to cover the entire U.S. by year’s end, even though there’s 48.6% left to go...


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