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Mysterious Apple Vans Gathering Data for Maps, Images for 3D Street View Feature?

Mysterious Apple Vans Gathering Data for Maps, Images for 3D Street View Feature?

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The mysterious Apple vans that have been spotted around the country are gathering data for an in-house Maps database, taking storefront photos, and collecting images for an upcoming 3D Street View feature, reports 9to5Mac. Sources say the vans are not test vehicles for an upcoming self-driving Apple car.

To launch Maps, Apple aggregated geography data from several third-party sources, including TomTom. The company is said to be working on replacing data from those sources with its own base map data. Initially Apple had planned to shift to its own in-house map database in 2017 but that may be running behind schedule and instead could happen in 2018.

Apple's vans are also collecting street view images; however, the company wants to display the images in a more intuitive manner.

To expand its 3D Flyover mode in Maps, Apple is working on ways to tie together its new camera data to make a street level version of 3D Maps for a future version of its Maps app. As Apple has only recently started collecting its 3D Street View data, such a feature is not likely to be imminent.

Finally, the vans are also taking still pictures of businesses along commercial roads. This initiative is codenamed "Project Gardar" and it aims to replace the Yelp images seen on business cards within the Maps app. Apple will reportedly roll out these images gradually within the next year.

In addition, Apple is working on other improvements to Maps that will ship alongside iOS 9, including a new transit directions feature which will initially launch in six cities.

We will likely learn more about Apple's plans for Maps during the WWDC 2015 keynote scheduled for June 8th.

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Mysterious Apple Vans Gathering Data for Maps, Images for 3D Street View Feature?

purplemaize01 - May 30, 2015 at 3:36am
There not even in NJ and they have all the cities wrong and the locations of highways when are they going to fix that. At least Google Maps has everything correct.
Nat - May 30, 2015 at 3:38am
which co.?
Roger Melly - May 29, 2015 at 10:19pm
Old news..
Wtf - May 29, 2015 at 7:13pm
This sounds a lot like google maps.... Who's copying who??
FTW - May 29, 2015 at 8:00pm
You know how Google just copied Apple in Apple pay after Google tried to make a good mobile wallet? Look at how much far ahead this will do, but what copy? This isn't even confirmed yet and you think you can claim copy? @woz you to.
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