Apple’s aiming for better mapping


Nokia has Here Maps platform, Google has Google Maps.

Then you have Apple Maps.

For those familiar with it, ever since its launch in 2013, there have been complaints that Apple’s iteration of location mapping was somewhat inaccurate to say the least and that it requires quite a bit of fine tuning.

It looks like Apple, though somewhat late to the party, has decided to boost their location and technology services (finally). The company recently purchased Coherent Navigation, a Bay Area tech startup handling global positioning and location mapping. The company was founded in 2008 and has been creating commercial navigation services via partnerships with the likes of Boeing and Iridium. In addition, the company has also worked on autonomous navigation and robotics projects, and have had tie-ins with the US Department of Defense.

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They have also worked on a high-precision navigation system which to date is much superior to many consumer-grade GPSs found in most smartphones or other devices.

With regard to acquisitions by Apple, the company has been covertly making a string of purchases since 2009. Companies such as Placebase, Locationary, BroadMap, Embark and Hopstop are just a few examples of what companies Apple has acquired as a plan to set themselves apart from rival Google. Apple’s old mapping application was actually based off Google Maps, and then replaced with their own technology as well as some licensed from Dutch digital mapping firm TomTom.

In reality though, Apple’s Maps navigation technology still runs second to Google Maps. In fact in a ComScore survey carried out in 2013, it turns out that almost twice as many iPhone owners would rather get directions from Google Maps, rather than use Apple Maps. The data is a tad redundant, but we can assume that the stats are still more or less the same now as it was back in 2013. After all, if Apple is aiming to provide better mapping, there has to be a perfectly logical and sound explanation for it.

No details have surface yet regarding how much is acquired Coherent Navigation for or when the actual purchase took place, although CEO of Coherent Navigation Paul G. Lego’s LinkedIn profile lists him working at Apple Inc. for the last 5 months.

In a somewhat bland statement, Apple commented by saying “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

So basically, whatever purpose or plans Apple has for it and its acquisitions remains to be seen. Hopefully the chance of us getting lost the next time we use Apple Maps will be less.


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