back to article Apple begs ex-Google bods to fix crap maps app

As reported on Friday, Apple is hastily hiring software engineers to fix its disastrous new Maps App. Not surprisingly, it appears the iPhone maker hopes to lure them from Google. Bosses are, we're told, sweet-talking engineers with experience in the sprawling Google maps team to woo them to Team Apple. The new Maps App - …

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  1. Real Ale is Best
    Pirate

    Open Street Map

    "but it has baked that data with information from Open Street Map, Waze, and several other sources to identify places."

    Open Street Map? Really? They are not credited in the provided link, and their CC-by-SA licence is incompatible with mixing the information with propriatry mapping data from Tom Tom.

    Is Apple stealing again?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Open Street Map

      It's not stealing unless a physical item is involved - isn't that what the "free" guys say.

      Plagiarism of the first order is what it sounds like.

      And worse, badly done.

      1. g e
        Facepalm

        It's not stealing unless a physical item is involved

        Tell it to the MAFIAA and chums, then.

      2. RICHTO Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Open Street Map

        They should license from Nokia - they have by miles the best Maps and navigation on a mobile...

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Open Street Map

          Not really.

          Other people have managed to achieve high quality navigation on mobile using Tom Tom licensed maps.

          Sygic - it is the best cross platform Sat Nav and probably best offline sat nav for Adroid. I have not tried the iOS version, but I would expect it to be as good.

          Apple should have bought it instead of this farce.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Open Street Map

          Go Richto! The sat nav on my Nokia has never let me down, but it is a bit hilarious driving around the Gravelly Hill Interchange :)

          'At the next junction take the first exit. Route recalculation. In 100 yards bear right and then bear right. Route recalculation. At the next junction turn right. Route recalculation. In 200 yards stay right and then take the first exit. Route recalculation. etc. etc'

        3. Chris 171

          Re: Open Street Map

          Nah, let apple think its only Google they have to worry about...

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Open Street Map

      "They are not credited in the provided link"

      They are, but possibly not visible in your browser unless you resize the page - or look at the source. There's an attribution to OSM.

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Open Street Map, diodesign

        wow, they actually disabled scrolling on that page, you either use a touch screen or your keyboard to scroll and see the full list!

    3. Shagbag
      WTF?

      £52kpa?

      "One guy looked around for other GIS work and ended up at Apple when a recruiter contacted him...Still, despite the insider's account of lukewarm salary offers of $85,000 (£52k) plus moving expenses"

      Fuck me. At those rates hee must've been an intern.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: £52kpa?

        All of those companies Apple bought for their engineers, not their products. It's called acquicruiting.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Open Street Map

      "Open Street Map? Really?"

      Yes. http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1556334

      "They are not credited in the provided link"

      They (we, since I also contribute) are now. http://blog.osmfoundation.org/2012/03/08/welcome-apple/

      "their CC-by-SA licence is incompatible with mixing the information with propriatry mapping data from Tom Tom."

      Not from the CC-by-SA side, as far as I am aware. You, Apple, and anyone else are perfectly welcome to use OSM data in any way you see fit, by itself or along with other providers, as long as credit is given.

      (Not an OSM Foundation member or spokesman, just another one of the many contributors of OSM data, but it still "my" data and yes, go ahead and use it, that's the whole point.)

      1. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: Open Street Map (@AC 20:04 GMT)

        The link you provided (http://blog.osmfoundation.org/2012/03/08/welcome-apple/) refers to iPhoto, not to Apple Maps.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Open Street Map (@AC 20:04 GMT)

          Good catch!

          However, as diodesign mentions elsewhere, I understand that Apple Maps also carries an attribution notice.

  2. Mike_JC

    Apple to fix new maps app

    Why don't Apple just buy back into Google Maps, after all that works very well, I know as I use an Android phone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple to fix new maps app

      Because this way they can retro-actively sue Google for copying Saint Job's invention of the map as evidenced to a retarded patent-officer wannabe jury foreman by showing him that the iPhone has maps and so does Google, therefore Google stole them.

      1. Miek
        Coat

        Re: Apple to fix new maps app

        And Lo, on the eight day, after his day of rest, lord Jobs invents cartography.

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          Re: Apple to fix new maps app

          And Lo, on the eight day, after his day of rest, lord Jobs invents cartography.

          Ah, but did he invent the Dymaxion projection?

      2. Scott Pedigo
        Joke

        Re: Apple to fix new maps app

        That's only if the jury foreman can find the courthouse, which might be a problem if he is using crApple Maps.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Apple to fix new maps app

      "Why don't Apple just buy back into Google Maps, after all that works very well, I know as I use an Android phone."

      I can imagine the meeting

      Google: Hahahahahahahahah, let me just add another zero to the end of that contract, hahahahahahahahahahahahahah, and a few more, oh man, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

      1. rvt
        Stop

        Re: Apple to fix new maps app

        You can laugh all you want,

        But you should be glad that there is at least one company fighting against the Google monopoly and has a serious change to make the world of online/mobile maps competitive. Personally i always found the maps of google rather slow, and there satellite are very very old, mind you i life in a country where was internet is considered 3mbit.

        I hope that Apple will do well soon and that they become a true competitive rather sooner then later.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: [rvt] Apple to fix new maps app

          Google has no monopoly on maps. See Nokia, OSM, Bing, any of the car SatNav providers...

          Trying to justify hobbling Apple users with their poor excuse for a mapping app by pretending Apple are producing the only alternative to Google Maps is disingenuous.

  3. John H Woods Silver badge

    The problem is ALWAYS the PEOPLE.

    If $85k is what they are offering as 'aggressive recruitment' it's surprising the people they had before were capable of creating any good software ... oh, wait ...

    1. Francis Vaughan

      Re: The problem is ALWAYS the PEOPLE.

      I have the feeling that Apple's map problems have nothing to do with software, and everything to do with data curation. If Google have 7000 people working on maps, you can bet that 95% of them are doing nothing but staring at GIS data applications and hand tweaking the map data. Sadly this isn't work fit for human beings, and will also pay about as well. Th best quality software on the planet won't replace low resolution satellite images with high resolution photographs taken from airplanes, or magically fix out of date business information. The only way to sort this out takes lots of effort, money, and time.

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Stop

        Re: The problem is ALWAYS the PEOPLE.

        Sadly this isn't work fit for human beings

        Can't crApple get it done in China, the same as their manufacturing?

      2. Si 1

        Re: The problem is ALWAYS the PEOPLE.

        Indeed. While it's currently cool to bash Apple's maps, I think the underlying system is fairly competent, it's the data that's crap. Throwing more programmers at it isn't going to help, like you say it requires lots of cheap eyeballs to sort out the flaws in the data.

        1. Jon B

          Re: The problem is ALWAYS the PEOPLE.

          Sort out the flaws in the apple mapping data by opening google maps on your second monitor, and then copy and paste the coordinates?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Pirate

      Re: The problem is ALWAYS the PEOPLE.

      'aggressive recruitment'

      Sounds like the Navy of old. Apple have roving press gangs hanging around Coffee bars and gaming shows?

      1. Mephistro Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: The problem is ALWAYS the PEOPLE. (@ m0rt )

        "Sounds like the Navy of old. Apple have roving press gangs hanging around Coffee bars and gaming shows?"

        "The engineer was overpowered,

        Though he fought most manfully,

        They dragged him through the dark, wet streets,

        Towards the Cupertino slave pits" *

        Meter? WTF is that? :-)

        *: Apologies to Steeleye Span

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GIS

    isn't much fun

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yosser Hughes around?

      GIS a job

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah! But...

    it has the head phone jack on the Bottom! Poof! And the connector's completely digital.

    What does that even mean?

    1. VinceH Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Ah! But...

      And the internet on the iPhone 5 won't scam you.

      1. HMB

        Re: Ah! But...

        @VinceH

        This link requires me to up-vote your post. Amusing, thank you :)

        1. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: Ah! But...

          " This link requires me to up-vote your post. Amusing, thank you :)"

          You're welcome.

          And Apple fandom is very welcome to her. :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah! But...

        The description said she wasn't a plant, didn't say anything about her not being a vegetable though.

      3. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Ah! But...

        If she's got one I definitely don't want one!

        Thanks for the great link.

      4. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: Ah! But...

        After seeing that video I am now looking for a 24 month contract on two plastic cups and a piece of string.

  6. Big_Ted
    Devil

    Its an easy fix.......

    Apple just need to use their gazillions in cash, buy Google, spin off the maps division into their own business, shut down the Android part and sale the search and ads parts to Facebook.

    Anything left over could be sold on the open market less the motorola patents which they can take for themselves so that they have some real ones at last.

    There fixed it for them.......

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can anyone explain how the data bought from TOMTOM is so bad. TOMTOM sat nav data has never been this bad. Was Apple shafted?

    1. CaptainHook

      Software Only?

      Can anyone explain how the data bought from TOMTOM is so bad

      ****

      Maybe they only brought the software rather than the content? i.e. the server code that sews tiles together to form the scrollable map from GIS db queries.

      1. rvt

        Re: Software Only?

        Mapserver can do that already for free. But really, making tiles is the easy part of mapping. Getting accurate maps is a different story.

        Quality control was a issue here, and properly some import errors somewhere down the line.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Stop

      Apple shafted itself

      The POIs didn't come from Tom Tom, a Routers report says it combines POI data from 20 different providers. There is also the 3D view which magics up contour data from out of nowhere (looks at the surface texture and altitude data and guesses).

      Apple shafted itself, by trying to do a GPS program in record time.

      Icon is what you'll be doing when following the turn-by-turn data.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple shafted itself

        The POIs didn't come from Tom Tom, a Routers report says it combines POI data from 20 different providers

        They would've been better off using the Royal National Institute for the Blind as one of their 'providers'

        The whole mapping app is riddled with the most basic simple mistakes. For example Consett in County Durham is randomly renamed Gonsett. Got all the hallmarks of a cheap offshore rush job this I'm surprised Accenture haven't been named as the brains behind it

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Consett in County Durham is randomly renamed Gonsett - not necessarily a bad thing eh ;-)

          As anyone one who has had to visit Consett will tell you.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple shafted itself

          I've an OSM-based app on my iphone - it knows where Consett is.

          So PICNIC - problem in Cupertino, not in computer

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple users still win...

    Google will release a Google Map app for iOS 6, just like they have done for Youtube, and then Apple users will have the best of both worlds :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple users still win...

      Best of both worlds? That would be the world where your maps work and are accurate and the world where they are iOS6 maps (is iOS6 Maps an oxymoron?). I think I will stick to my single world where my maps just work and are accurate - don't see a lot of use for inaccurate maps.

      1. Xee

        Re: Apple users still win...

        You obviously have not experienced Apple maps flyover yet... Its pretty amazing! Not experienced any inaccuracies myself yet.

        1. Radelix

          Re: Apple users still win...

          I gave it a shot with my brothers iphone trying to direct us to a cigar shop in downtown Los Angeles. We were a mile and a half away as the crow flies.

          Attempt 1: put it in an alleyway 2 blocks away

          Attempt 2: using the turn by turn nav attempted to send us the wrong way on a one way....twice

          Attempt 3: (using a co-workers 4s) flyover locked up maps, then he tried to impress me with the siri tricks of "open the pod bays doors", etc, etc)

          In short I'm quite happy with my Nexus phone and its choco factory maps.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple users still win...

          >You obviously have not experienced Apple maps flyover yet... Its pretty amazing! Not experienced any inaccuracies myself yet.

          This is an IT site - we've mostly all seen flyover years ago when C3 developed it - I was quite surprised that since Apple purchased the company, they've added nothing - same handful of cities, nothing new.

      2. InsaneGeek
        Meh

        Re: Apple users still win...

        I'm pretty sure that is not allowed as part of Apple's app store terms, under the Trademark & trade dress section of their rules:

        "Apps which appear confusingly similar to an existing Apple product or advertising theme will be

        rejected"

        Apple won't let Firefox into the app store because iOS already has a browser providing similar functionality, if they allow Google maps into the app store they will be two-faced on that rule. I think they will cause a shit storm of complaints on randomly following their own rules and some big names might take them to court over it, either forcing Apple to accept apps they don't want (along with Google maps) or forcing them to reject apps they do want in the store.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple users still win...

          Only time will tell. There is already a Chrome and Opera browser and countless others...

          1. christian baier
            Thumb Down

            Re: Apple users still win...

            these aren't real browser apps in the sense of them using their own engine, they just put their UI over the iOS webkit. and not even the fastest version of that, that one's reserved for safari

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple users still win...

        "don't see a lot of use for inaccurate maps."

        I take it you're not into orienteering competitions? Nothing hones your navigation skills like a bad map.

    2. GettinSadda
      FAIL

      Re: Apple users still win...

      Maybe Google don't want to help Apple out of the brown stuff!

      As soon as Google Maps is out for iOS 6 the bad news stories will stop.

      1. Xee

        Re: Apple users still win...

        Of course they do, how do you think Google makes money...?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple users still win...

      Google will release a Google Map app for iOS 6, just like they have done for Youtube, and then Apple users will have the best of both worlds :)

      It will hardly the best of both worlds when clicking on links in Safari open them in Crapple maps rather than Google maps which you know actually has places where they are really located

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple users still win...

        Copy link paste in app of choice... not hard. There are already 3rd party apps that have Google Street view etc. So I do see it currently as the best of both worlds. Apple users can choose which map system to use, Android users only have 1 choice.

        Cant wait until Apple add Venice in 3D (see preview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNr_ToOFvHI&feature=youtube_gdata_player)

        Of course Google Street view does not exist in Venice lol.

        1. Mark .

          Re: Apple users still win...

          I find it interesting just how many Iphone UI workflows involve copy/pasting between a 3rd party application (another example would be replacement keyboards like Swype - since on a feature phone, you can't replace the built-in keyboard, they instead run as a 3rd party app that you type in, then copy and paste into the other application...)

          But it's particularly funny when you consider for years, the Iphone couldn't even do copy/paste - and the response from fans was to say "But why would you want to do copy/paste? Iphone has new 'paradigms' that means it doesn't need copy/paste". Yet now it has copy/paste, it seems they need it all the time.

          And they say it has the best UI?

        2. Nick Pettefar

          Re: Venice Streetview

          Well, you get something. A shame they didn't put cameras on a boat though!

  9. Arctic fox
    Headmaster

    I think that it is possible that this needs a little bit of translation work.

    "Still, despite the insider's account of lukewarm salary offers of $85,000 (£52k) plus moving expenses, it appears Apple is simply picking up people whose contract work with Google has ended."

    I.E. "Cupertino has now realised that they are in fairly deep shit as far as this particular issue is concerned and are desperate enough to employ Mountain View's leavings". That interpretation may or may not be fair but on the basis of the available evidence it is as valid as any other call. I repeat a comment I made on another thread, it is impossible to believe that their former CEO would have allowed this out the door. That they are now reduced (if this article is the "real deal" as far as the information in it is concerned) to hiring those whom Google either do not wish to keep or do not need to keep says everything that needs to be said. I still do not understand how they could have released an app so important to so many users as the navigation/mapping app in this condition.

  10. Wang N Staines

    £52k?

    Any Google engineers should be able to demand 3x that amount since Apple are in dire straight at the moment.

  11. Mark .

    "which along with its Android operating system is locked in a fierce battle for supremacy with Apple in the world of mobile technology."

    Battle for supremacy? I think it's pretty clear who's won when you look at sales figures. The battle will be more who in the market will compete for 2nd or 3rd place. (Apple only became 2nd place very recently after Symbian was dropped by Nokia, but it's unclear they will remain their long term.)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now where are those Apple fans

    when we need them most ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now where are those Apple fans

      Lost somewhere a few miles away probably.

  13. DrXym Silver badge

    Looks like dodgy 3D code

    I was looking at the Telegraph's slide show of bodged iOS 6 maps and many of them appeared to be the result of broken terrain data. Clifton suspension bridge for example looks like a roller coaster, as if Apple mapped the tiles over some depth map and unfortunately it was the wrong data or the terrain data had too much noise.

    Missing and mispelt towns and misplaced markers are probably the fault of OpenMap. It's the wikipedia of maps which means it's mostly correct but could also be horribly wrong and it wouldn't be spotted.

  14. Justice
    Mushroom

    If I were Google...

    There's a reason why these ex-Google bods are out of contract.

    I know why I don't re-hire people. This is probably along the same lines.

    I would let the iSheep roam free... and utterly lost.

    Google should keep GoogleMaps exclusive to Android.

    Just in case I get the usual derisory FanBoi comments, I own an iPhone 4 and you can be absolutely certain that this will be the last iPhone I ever touch, ever!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If I were Google...

      I think Google should release Google Maps on the iPhone, but they should charge for it (if Apple were previously paying them to use it.) Maybe that is what their Objective-C converter is about.

      Obviously they need to be pretty quick if they're doing this since Apple's maps will eventually improve.

  15. Random Coolzip
    FAIL

    $85K????

    That's barely-passable wages here on the Least Coast. I imagine in Mt. View/Palo Alto that's sleep-in-your-car money (and not a terribly decent car, at that)!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: $85K????

      Here in the real world $85k is but a dream.

      So in response - fuck you. Fuck you with a big blunt stick.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Arogance or stupidity?

    Google thinks it can produce great mapping software because it employs a thousand experts and six times as many contractors. It does.

    Apple thinks it can produce great mapping software, how? By just being Apple?

  17. Shane Kent

    baked in facebook and crappy maps...

    iOS 6 feels desperate to me. Screwing up maps on a smart-phone seems suicidal, as it is one of the best features of a smart-phone. They gotta correct this asap, as I do not see how any decent techie could recommend a smart-phone with crappy maps.

  18. Polyphonic
    Coat

    Who do I contact at Apple to report a copyright infringement?

    I want to report a copyright infringement to Apple. I asked the old woman in the library for directions twice and both times she sent me to the wrong place. Clearly she is using the new Apple maps without a licence.

  19. opaque

    Always the opportunity of opening Google Maps up in Safari. Or is that too complicated for people?

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