Chances are, you know the woes of Apple’s new ‘Maps’ system, which was introduced in iOS 6. And, if you’re a particularly naive Apple fanboy, you’ll be convinced that Apple will have it fixed in no time. Sadly, the likelihood is that you’ll be waiting for some time.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has already formally apologized for the cock-up and claims that “the more our customers use our maps the better it will get”, as he believes, because users of iOS 6 can report problems in the Maps application, that the maps will soon get better. However, David Talbot from Technology Review disagrees. He believes that Apple don’t understand the “true scale” of the problem.
“The scale of the problem—particularly, the millions of errant labels on points of interest like businesses—requires new data sources and easier ways to contribute fixes, as well as enough willing map-fixers in geographically dispersed regions. Little of this is evident now, experts say.”
Apple needs more means of improving its maps, because relying on users alone won’t give nearly enough information to improve all of its data, bearing in mind that not everyone will report problems in the maps, and that Apple covers the whole world. President of TeleMapics, Michael Dobson suggests that Apple can analyze searches that users make. If a place isn’t found in Apple’s app, then the company can investigate why not, thus improving it, without the need for intervention from customers. Simple.
So why are Google’s maps so much better than Apple’s? Well, Google employs an incredible 5,000 to 7,000 people, just to fix problems in maps. In comparison, Dobson doesn’t think there are more than a few hundred people employed by Apple for the same job. Plus, lest we forget, Google has its specially modified cars, which have so far mapped over 5 million miles worldwide.
If Apple could enforce a system in which more detailed error reports could be written by customers, this would also help Apple’s effort to improve its maps. Another welcome addition, as suggested by Dobson, would be a ‘map-maker’ tool. This would allow users to correct maps that aren’t reliable.
Fortunately, I don’t have to travel much at all, and almost never used Google Maps on previous versions of iOS, so haven’t had much time with Apple’s maps, although I can certainly see why it gets so much bad press, so let’s hope it’s improved sooner rather than later.