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back to article Apple: Blue-shirts can fix iOS Maps in their spare time

Concerned that the blue-shirt in the Apple Store isn't paying enough attention to your questions about charger adapters for your iPhone 5? Maybe that's because she's trying to correct the location of the local airport on Apple's Maps application. One of Apple's new strategies for fixing iOS Maps is to get their retail staff to …

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Can anyone estimate....

... how long it will take them to get their maps to the standard users expect? Just how messed up are their maps? Without delving too deep, it would be my assumption that it would be quicker for Apple to buy a working solution from a third party, or at least buy a years license for third-party map app for all iOS6 users- tiding them over til Apple have got their own maps fixed.

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Re: Can anyone estimate....

Put it this way:

How long has OpenStreetMap been running and how many volunteers have they had?

Because without a similar sort of effort, they won't approach even OpenStreetMap's quality of mapping (which is far from perfect, but not as terrible as Apple's).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can anyone estimate....

Good idea, they could license maps data from that thrusting new startup called "Google", maybe? I understand that their maps are pretty decent.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can anyone estimate....

Is there a solution available from a third party that is open for licensing, works well and isn't Google? It's my understanding Apple have bought data from all over the place and stitched it together because there isn't a monolithic supplier out there that has quality data for every country.

As to how messed up Apple's maps are, I suppose it depends on where you are and how much you want to believe the media hyperbole. I was looking for various old haunts from Cardiff on there the other night and comparing them to Google Maps and both had things in the wrong place or that aren't there any more. If anything the Apple maps had some POIs that Google didn't. Of course that doesn't mean Apple's maps are perfect but I think the current perception that they're a total disaster is rather overblown.

I'd say the two major flaws are rubbish satellite imagery in places and no Street View. Apple should be able to fix the satellite problem but they're a bit knackered on the latter unless they can massively improve the 3D flyover quality to allow street level viewing (and even then I don't think it would work as well as the actual photos Google use).

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Black Helicopters

Re: Can anyone estimate....

Agreed. And there is a chance that they have done just that, bundling it with an undisclosed amount of -tons of- cash and a patent agreement that will end the patent strife for all the companies involved -Google and Android device makers on one side, Apple on the other. Good for the companies involved, bad for little companies and individuals trying to innovate, and to everybody else, as this Apple patent brouhaha was the only thing that could force the USAians to ditch Software Patents and do some very needed reform to their Patent System.

Paranoid? Yeah, that's my second name. :-)

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Paris Hilton

Re: Can anyone estimate....

That's what I thought they had done, indeed OSM and TomTom have stated that Apple use their data:-

http://blog.osmfoundation.org/2012/10/02/apple-maps/

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120611006133/en/Apple-License-TomTom%E2%80%99s-Content

Being a regular user of both, if OSM's post is correct it looks like someone in Cupertino has royally ****** up here.

I'm guessing Paris must be their tech lead on this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can anyone estimate....

This way? Years.

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Anonymous Coward

Needs more

Work than that, I no longer exist, my place of work no longer exists, even the main road and nearest town is located 60 miles in the wrong place.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Needs more

>Work than that, I no longer exist,

If you were the size of a small truck and have spent the last three years stood on the same spot, your news would astound me!

When I fail see to see myself on a map app, I assume I just was't there at the time. Doubly so, since most satellite photos seem to have been taken early in the day ; D

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rvt

Re: Can anyone estimate....

I fully agree with al your points except..

1) Street view isn't needed for navigation, flyover is also not needed, even if it works.

2) Satellite image is indeed of lower quality with Apple Maps, however it's more up-to-date in many area's then what Google has. At least where I live, but i read from the internet the same that Google has old sattelite data.

3) Google won't have the needed resources to keep there streetview up-to-date aswell. So give it a view more years and we will have loads of complaing users that Google's dataset is out-of-date

4) POI's is something that apple has to work on really hard to get everything in there maps.

5) Searches in Apple Mapps is terribly broken. When I was searching for chocolate shops in france, close to Lille I, Apple maps found the seconds closest store in LA (USA), that's not very helpfull!

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FAIL

Re: Can anyone estimate....

regarding the following:

"As to how messed up Apple's maps are, I suppose it depends on where you are and how much you want to believe the media hyperbole"

Whilst i am not a staunch supporter of any specific company (I just buy or use a product i believe is of quality for me), i also conversely don't typically jump on the bandwagon if said company cocks up but I have to say the Apple maps product is fairly dire and made me look like a complete numpty (not hard I know) the other day.

I had travelled to a city the other day that i am not overly familiar with and needed to get to a meeting, looked at the map on my iPhone which stated there was a train station there. So went in to the info office and asked the guy what line i should take to get to the station. He was looking at me blankly so i repeated the question slowed my words down and increased pitch, as you do, to which he replied "Sorry mate they knocked that station and building down about 3 years ago."

Whoopsie, did I feel like an idiot.

In summary from my limited usage I concur with the media, its shite.

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WTF?

Re: Can anyone estimate....

It is not about the maps, what Apple is doing here is a fantastic "smoke screen", they know that the problem is with the programming but now they want their employees to think and to signal it is all about the maps.

Must give them some credit for this whooping lie. Many will probably believe them.

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I will be interested to see how these casual city planners will reinstate entire communities that have been wiped off the map, or how they will reintegrate public transport services.

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FAIL

With the amount of money Apple are sitting on, this just proves they don't give a shit about end users.

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Unhappy

If Apple actually gave a shit...

...they'd let us revert to iOS 5.1.1. until this cr-app is sorted out.

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Re: If Apple actually gave a shit...

Noone made you upgrade.

I didn't as I always wait to see if anything like this happens.

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Re: If Apple actually gave a shit...

Er .. why did you upgrade?

Personally speaking my iPhone is still on IOS5 because the mapping is important and the iPad is now on IOS6 just so I could see what the problems are.

A brief comparison of my locality shows Google seems to be similar to (or slightly worse) than Apple in the location of places. Weirdly in IOS6 maps things that are misplaced on the map are properly placed in Yelp when you tap them. Go figure

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End Users

Correct, and the end users don't care what dross Apple churn out these days they'll upgrade (h/w and s/w) regardless.

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Stop

Re: Noone made you upgrade.

I didn't. Lots of people did and were caught unawares by this pile of crap.

Doesn't alter the fact that apple should at least allow them to revert to the last known good OS.

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Re: If Apple actually gave a shit...

"Noone made you upgrade."

Unless of course your first Apple product was an iPhone 5. You know, Apple's flagship product? You can't downgrade those things.

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rvt

Re: If Apple actually gave a shit...

The reason why Apple has so many places mis-placed on there maps is because some of there GIS implementors didn't understand the concepts very well.

Different areas in the world use different mapping systems. And even a lat/long location will be the same over years, you need to compensate due to tectonic plates shifting around. if you don't compensate properly you will see that your POI's will be moved every so slightly (meters).

This should be a fairly easy fix for Apple because in theory this is just math. Practically I can imagine they want to test this well on there preproduction environment.

It will happen within a couple of months and I am pretty sure Apple will get this right, we will see far more POI's located correctly and search corrected. Street info was already correct.

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Stop

tectonic plates???

I thought tectonic plates moved only a few cm per year. Unless the Apple Store in Sydney has been there for a 100 years or so I think you'd be hard pressed to use that as an excuse for a POI being off position by 200m.

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i scent mischief

How unfortunate would it be if groups of "concerned citizens" started submitting the same false corrections. .

Though if it's anything like Google corrections will just be ignored.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: i scent mischief

I submitted four corrections to the maps and they've all been sorted. Took a while, but they got there eventually.

Now if the navigation part would stop changing to an American voice and it's appalling pronunciation, that would be even better.

I had to look at the roadsign I was passing to translate Loo-burrow as actually being Loughborough.

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Headmaster

@ AC 10:13 GMT - Re: i scent mischief

"it's appalling pronunciation"

The irony...

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Re: i scent mischief

They seem to take their damned time about it. Broadgate, next to Liverpool street station, is still called Broad Gate, despite me having reported it two weeks ago.

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HMB

Re: i scent mischief

I've let them know that Sodburry is a very rude and ridiculous name and that it's actually called Poopyshire. A few more people making the same update and I think we'll be in there :P

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TRT
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WAre you sure it wasn't...

an Appology?

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Joke

Surely...

... the Apple Way is to correct the towns so that their maps are correct ?

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Meh

Yeah it's no big deal

The towns are holding the ground wrong

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Wasn't it Tomtom data?

Didn't they get the data from Tomtom and then wangle it in some way? I thought their fix was going to be to fix the map wangling program they must have ran so that it doesn't bugger up the Tomtom data which I presume is correct.

What's the story? How did they mess up the Tomtom data? Or is it not a case of that?

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Re: Wasn't it Tomtom data?

They got from multiple sources, there are towns that appear twice around 25 miles apart (and neither is at the exact location).

Imagine the amount of trust a person would put: some unknown bod correcting maps and then I try voice navigation with that crap, the idea is beyond horrible. I mean sitting on mountain of cash and coming up w/ such a brain-sapped solution is truly a marked effort from the higher management (but if you are stupid there is no cure, so no surprises)

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Terminator

Re: Wasn't it Tomtom data?

To be fair, there is a bridge over the A1 where my father's TomTom tells you to turn right... it's atleast a 30 foot drop (if you make it over the barrier, of course).

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Re: Wasn't it Tomtom data?

Its because they are using data from many sources and putting them together. It is not an easy fix like Google that has everything integrated from the start so is a lot harder to fix, add to that the mess that the 3D imaging is adding and its a long hard fix for them as so many points of interest / businesses are wrongly tagged.

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Re: Wasn't it Tomtom data?

My TomTom seems to like a particular roundabout in Chelmsford and if I followed its instructions, I'd still be circling it:

"Go around the roundabout" - 180 degrees later - "Go around the roundabout" - ad infinitum.

But that's not a critical mapping error, so much as a slip-up or mistyping. The problem Apple has is sheer lack of data in some places and vastly inaccurate data in others (e.g. going 25 miles away from the address you intended and then leaving you there).

Minor mapping errors will always occur, and the driver should be compensating appropriately anyway. Just because it says turn right doesn't mean you a) can, b) should, c) will be safe doing so.

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Re: Wasn't it Tomtom data?

"Minor mapping errors will always occur, and the driver should be compensating appropriately anyway. Just because it says turn right doesn't mean you a) can, b) should, c) will be safe doing so."

That didn't really need stating, Lee. My point isn't that the maps should be perfect or that there should be no errors, I was just responding to the OP that the Tom tom data isn't perfect, with an example that I think is quite funny.

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FAIL

But how

are they going to correct the places that don't exist on the map ?

And are Apple going to get their luw shirts to head out in the luch break checking turn by turn etc? If so expect empty stores in the afternoon.....

The easiest solution is to either put the Google app back on or an "app" that is in fact a bookmark to either google or nokia maps in the browser until they get theirs sorted, with luck they could then drop it again by iOS7.....

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Re: But how

If it's all automated, slap a big X in the middle of a field and mark "Here be treasure"... see if it appears on the maps.

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Re: But how

If there's something missing you tap and hold on the location until a pin drops onto it. Then you choose "Report a Problem" -> "Information is incorrect" and then enter the name, address, phone, hours, URL and category of the location. I've done it a few times now and they've appeared fairly quickly.

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Re: But how

Thats all well nad good. Buy I paid a premium for my iPhone 4s, and ill be fucked if if im going to spend my time, money and data allowance fixing a shoddy service. I paid a premium because all my apple kit just works well. I love it as is. But I wont be updating to iOS6, and i wont be buying an iphone 5. Ive defended apple in the past but this maps thing really takes the biscuit. Either they fix it, let google release an app that I can set to be the default, or theyve lost a customer. I suspect (and genuinely hope) that this may be start of the downfall of apple. As much as I like their kit, the company is a complete arse, and I suspect that more and more people are starting to not like their kit.

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LPF
FAIL

Re: But how

Yeah yeah sure, mate stop acting like you have an iPhone , you have an android phone and you want to add to the current Hysteria becuase eveyone is stillin buying iPhones as fast as they turn up in the shops! you sadsack!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But how

*sigh*

"...or an "app" that is in fact a bookmark to either google or nokia maps in the browser until they get theirs sorted,"

From Tim Cook's letter;

"...or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and *creating an icon on your home screen to their web app."

(* links to http://www.apple.com/ios/add-to-home-screen/)

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@LPF "Re: But how" You know it's a funny thing but I have for some reason........

..............rather old fashioned reservations about calling somebody a liar in the absence of any solid indication that they are, simply because I want it to be the case. How about you?

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Surely the blue shirt buyers will buy into it to.

Just think of it as a luxury health spa as you look for errors.

You are on the Apple tread mill.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely the blue shirt buyers will buy into it to.

In your "spare time" are you Blue Shirts REALLY going to fix no-pay Apple Maps problems or are you REALLY going to try to get next customer to buy Apple products in order to get your sales bonus instead of your peers? REALLY.

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Re: Surely the blue shirt buyers will buy into it to.

But surely the blue shirts are incentivised to sell Apple products, so that will come first.

As regards then getting the blue shirts to update the maps that might take skills that they do not have' Apple may as well pay Apes with peanuts to get the job down. They would have a better shot at a quality outcome......

I foresee loads of people walking aimlessly in circles and bumping into each other as they focus on their smartphones trying to get some place....

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Facepalm

Location Errors

Excuse me, but I'm here. I'm here!

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Re: Location Errors

I'm me! Neely O'Hara!

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FAIL

Am I the only one that wonders what the POI of the average apple genius is?

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Happy

Yes!!!

What is a POI???

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