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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Apple’s new mobile operating system includes new mapping system

June 15th, 2012 by Susan Smith

On Monday Apple  introduced a new version of its mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads that will bring a host of new features, including maps that let users soar over a three-dimensional rendering of a city, according to an article in The New York Times.

As was mentioned in this blog of a pre-announcement of Google Earth for mobile “(Pre-announcement of Google Earth for mobile made at Google event”) last week, the new map software replaces Google data with Apple’s own mapping system. This is a big step for a company that has considered Google a close partner up until now. Since Apple introduced the iPhone, it has relied on Google data to drive the mapping software. When Google released its Android platform, however, relationships between the two companies began to disintegrate.  Not surprisingly as Android is the top mobile operating system in the world, putting Apple and Google head to head in several different markets.

Of most interest to location and geospatial professionals however, is that the new mapping system for Apple’s mobile devices will provide drivers with turn-by-turn directions, a feature that has been free in Android smartphones from Google for awhile now. It is strange that it has not been available on the iPhone and iPad until now.  In this feature there is a 3D view in the maps service called Flyover, which Apple created by shooting aerial photographs.

Not to be outdone by Google, Apple acquired three mapping companies over the past three years: Placebase, Poly9 and C3 Technologies. The map data used is from TomTom, a Dutch manufacturer of navigation systems that is well known in GIS circles.

Google has become well known for its mapping service since its inception in 2005. The company is adding 3-D maps to Google Earth. The new feature will also make it possible for Android users to  download and store maps on their devices to be viewable without an Internet connection. This is a feature that Apple’s new mapping software does not have.

Apple is still considered the user friendly company with its millions of users. The company is also relying on its customer base to collect traffic information on their iPhones for its database.

Siri, the voice-activated virtual assistant in the latest iPhone, has some updates as well. It could be suggested that Apple’s Siri could be a search engine in itself – allowing users to search for restaurants and movies via voice commands instead of looking them up on Google. A new function in Siri, Eyes Free, will allow car drivers to push a button on their steering wheels to activate Siri.

A video of the announcement of Apple’s new mobile operating system and other updates is available here:

New Apple Features

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Categories: Apple, Google, LBS, location based services, satellite imagery

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