back to article Google Maps adds aircraft, tricycles and skiers to cover all bases

Google has been singing the praises of its mapping projects, outlining plans for a fleet of aircraft to provide 3D city modeling, offline storage of detailed maps, using StreetView on skis and snowmobiles and the mapping national museums and monuments with backpack 360 degree cameras. The Chocolate Factory went all out to …


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  1. Spearchucker Jones

    More interested in what Apple's going to do.

    AFAIK the only technology that competes with Google Maps is Navteq. Their data and their 3D maps are way better than Google's. If Apple goes with OSM it's going to take herds of work to bring iOS maps up to the Google/Nokia standard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Now they'll be able to harvest information by wifi from 30,000 feet, and you're not even safe in your alpine hut.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, Mr. Rich-Guy, I'm Not Casing Your Mansion ...

    ... I'm just working for Google.

  3. Barry Rueger

    Apple iMaps?

    Let me state the obvious. Apple's mapping system doesn't have to be better than Google's, or even as good.

    Apple users will find it as the default on their systems, and will be told endlessly that it's the best ever thing.

    And they'll believe it.

    And Apple will quickly integrate it with all manner of other apps so that it's really not practical to use anything else.

    Which, admittedly, is what Google does so well.

    (Mine's the one with the AAA TripTik in the pocket)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple iMaps?

      It doesn't have to be better than Google's updated version is, or even as good as the current version is. It only has to be better than the absolutely shitty way outdated and never updated version of Google Maps iOS is currently cursed with.

      That's a pretty easy target.

      Keep in mind that while Google owns the streetview images etc. they do NOT own the maps data and images. Both are licensed from someone else. If they wished to, Apple could license the same data, though having 250 million iOS users crowdsourcing updates to OpenStreetmap ought to get it caught up in quality pretty quickly. That's assuming Apple has some easy method for users to note new streets that aren't on the map, closed streets that have been removed, or whatever else might keep the open source map data at a lower quality than the paid-for licensed data Google Maps uses.

      Presumably there would be some type of quality control for these updates. i.e., don't update the data until enough people note it, to avoid hooligans with hoax updates sending grannies off a cliff on a road that doesn't exist. True, this has already happened with Google Maps as well as "professional" GPS devices like Garmin, but if/when this happens with Apple turn by turn directions it'll make much bigger news, as most things good or bad about Apple tend to these days.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Apple iMaps?

        OpenStreetmap? Yes Apple could embrace an opensource platform where they have to give something back. Alternatively they could fit cameras to airborne pigs and duplicate Google's aerial mapping.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple iMaps?

          Another clueless Apple hater. Or perhaps you are unaware that both the Mach microkernel that's at the core of both iOS and Mac OS X as well as Webkit that is at the core of Apple's Safari browser (as well as the Android browser and Google's Chrome browser) are open source projects to which Apple are one of the largest contributors.

          Apple is obviously nowhere near as open source friendly as Google is, but Google is out to make a buck just like everyone else. They're happy to open source Android because they make money from it via advertising (by driving traffic to their search engine and other services which generate ad revenue) rather than licensing, but you don't see them open sourcing their search engine, or the Street View photos, do you?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple iMaps?

      Would you rather the world all relied on Google? monopolies are never good. The deal to use Google maps and support for other Google services in the original iPhone was back when Google assured Apple that they weren't going to do a phone.

  4. heyrick Silver badge

    Hey Googs...

    Live in rural France, Brittany region. Our satellite imagery is A. crap, and B. about a decade old. And why did you move the location of my address half a mile up the lane when you decided to give our lane a name? Please correct this (and this would be about the third time I've said this plus a dozen times reporting location is not here in navi...).

    Other than that...if you're the kind of crazy that would enjoy skiing through a field of wheat, come drop by, I'll put the kettle on. Oughta be a laugh.

  5. Ole Juul

    Wrong direction

    Pictures are great, but when they misname the roads and direct traffic into unused trails such as they do where I live, then their service borders on entertainment. I would like to see more effort put into the basics before they add more bling.

    1. JetSetJim

      Re: Wrong direction

      While I agree that there are a fair few country roads that are misused/faulty in SatNav applications of all flavours, I wonder what proportion of journeys that use SatNav actually use these roads.

      That last few percent is probably prohibitively expensive to fix, so I doubt it will be - unless they sort out a sponsorship deal with all the entertaining news stories with articulated lorries stuck on a single track road in Cornwall, or dumb BMW drivers stuck half hanging over a cliff Italian Job-style because they were told to follow a farm track.

  6. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Useless retards

    They need to spend some time/money fixing their current maps. I know of 14 screwups in Orlando alone, like tollway ramps and businesses that have been closed for several years, new intersections, and new businesses where the owner has seen his listing randomly appear and disappear for months.

    I submit the problems, they say "prove it", I send 'em a pic, and they say that's not good enough! I'm not your unpaid surveyor, bitches.

    Sadly enough, they're still far better than TomTom or Garmin, or even OpenStreetMap (at least around here)

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Useless retards

      I submit the problems, they say "prove it", I send 'em a pic, and they say that's not good enough! I'm not your unpaid surveyor, bitches.

      I doubt that they are paid either. I sent them information as well, but they didn't respond and they didn't fix the problems. I can only assume that they are using volunteer help since it doesn't make sense that they would have paid jobs where performance is irrelevant.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: Useless retards

      What is scary is they are probably relying on this map data for their automated cars. While the driving engine will be looking at what is around, the routing engine will be using their map data to work out where to go.

      1. AlexH

        Re: Useless retards

        If they are using the same dataset for routing then I'm pretty sure you'll find that the data for the areas they're trialling their self-driving cars will have been double-checked and actually delightfully accurate.

        And/or the car will be reading the road signs itself as it trundles along to double-check it isn't doing anything stupid like a one-way-street f*ckup.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now if they could just update the maps they already have...

    The building I live in is a mid-rise 8 story apartment building and Google just shows it as an empty field. Unlike other comentards, I live in Seattle, a major city not some village in the middle of nowhere . Plus I am literally a stone's throw away from Google's campus up here (Which by the way does their maps and street-view stuff). I don't give two shits about what the mountains looks like, I want to be able to see my neighborhood on a damned map. (The place looks like a slum in street view, but was drastically improved in the past few years).

    Anon, because I am a stone's throw away from them and I don't feel like fixing my windows.

    1. ratfox

      Re: Now if they could just update the maps they already have...

      If it appears on the satellite pics, you can fix it yourself with Map Maker. The pictures from the area seem to be from last year, so your building should be on it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google maps corrections

    I have sent in a few corrections for errors in NZ, even though I live in the UK. It did take some time, but they did respond and corrected the errors, the errors were mainly traffic lights where there is no junction or on bridges.

    Always got email back to say if they agreed there was a problem and another when it had been corrected.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple #fail

    OSM is a massive backward step from where iPhone owners are today, and whilst impressive that the opensource community can put together a map system like this, it's not even 10% of what Google has.

    If they announce OSM, it will the end of Apple.

    1. Ru

      Re: "If they announce OSM, it will the end of Apple."

      That's a little overdramatic. It'll take more than a patchy GIS to topple a hundred billion dollar company.

      They won't use OSM because they do not control it and nor can they exercise any practical control over its content. If anything, they'd simply copy the database and rework it. More likely, they'll just buy a suitable mapping data package from some suitable company (or companies) and run with that instead. Worked for Google, after all.

  10. Def Silver badge

    "Given the...time and money Google has ploughed into mapping systems..."

    They still insist on opening new maps over the US. How hard can it be to remember the coordinates of the last session and use them when starting again?

    1. JetSetJim

      Re: "Given the...time and money Google has ploughed into mapping systems..."

      If you open, you get the US. If you open, you get the UK. If you open, guess where you get...

      On the left, there is also something labelled "Set default location", too

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: "Given the...time and money Google has ploughed into mapping systems..."

        I don't want to set my default location, I just want to carry on from where I left off.

  11. Martin H Watson

    I'm wondering...

    I'd be happy just knowing why Google maps thinks the New King's Road, Chelsea is 'A308 motorway'.

  12. johnnymotel

    Oh goody....

    now I can het lost in 3D

  13. A J Stiles

    Yeah but

    Can it show distances in kilometres yet?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Useless Retards?

    It's FREE!

    It's also WAY better than what you had to pay quite a few bucks for just a couple of years back.

    The only advantage things like TomTom and Route66 had was that their (rapidly dating) maps were on the phone and didn't have to be downloaded on the move. Now that Google is going to fix that problem, you have to wonder how much longer these other companies can stay in business.

    As for Apple finally doing something of it's own with mapping rather than rely on a major competitor: it's 'bout time! Even Nokia has their own map app. And a Google near-monopoly on mapping would be a very bad thing.

  15. Cubical Drone

    The first step

    Of course Apple is going to offer a mapping service...then patent it and sue others for having one.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    When Jesus drives his car in Low Earth Orbit...

    He doesn't use Goggle Maps, because as we all know, ONLY Jesus's car works in space!!!!!

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