Apple owns up to mapping errors – “This is no one’s issue but ours”

Thu, Sep 27, 2012


The photos of foibles in Apple’s new Maps app continue to roll-in, and we’re essentially at a point where we can all collectively say, “okay, we get it. Apple’s new Maps app needs some fixing up.”

Over the past few days, more details have emerged regarding Apple’s decision to abandon Google Maps in favor of its own solution. The gist of it is that Apple wasn’t thrilled that Google Maps on Android provided a much better user experience, what with the inclusion of vector maps and of course turn by turn directions.

It’s been about a week since Apple’s iPhone 5 came out and Apple was quick to answer the flood of complaints regarding its new Maps app. In a statement released to All Things D a few days ago, Apple explained:

Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service,” said spokeswoman Trudy Miller. “We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.

Since then, the narrative has shifted slightly from “What the hell did Apple do?!” to “Why the hell did Apple abandon Google Maps?”. Either way, the issue remains at the forefront of many people’s minds, especially given that maps on a smartphone is generally considered to be the second most used app behind email.

Having said all that, Apple is at the very least owning up to its mistakes and is not attempting to shift the blame to any other third party.

Speaking to the New York Times, an Apple executive explained, “We own this; we manage the vendors. This is no one’s issue but ours.” The executive also reiterated that Apple is going to more as much “time and manpower into repairing Maps as it takes.”

The Times adds:

Within the app, the prominent Report a Problem button offers one-tap options like “Pin is at incorrect location” and “Place does not exist” (don’t you hate when that happens?). Apple also learns from the location data that pours in from those millions of iPhones as they roam.

Apple passes the error reports to TomTom or whichever data vendor is responsible. Eventually, the vendor makes the correction, and hey, presto: Maps gets better.

It ain’t gonna happen overnight, but hey, at least it’s got Apple’s attention.


Photo of Apple’s Map Development Team

Apple pushing to hire mapping experts from Google


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