Google loses nearly 80 percent of iOS users, falls on Android as well
A year ago, Apple's own Maps program - which had launched to scathing press and user reviews due to errors, graphical glitches and the dropping of transit directions - was the laughing stock of the mapping industry. Google Maps - which finally produced its own iOS app after months of playing coy - was in the catbird seat, with 81.1 million users (out of a combined 103.6 million US iOS and Android market). One year later, things have changed.
Ongoing commitment to improvements going global
Continuing the company's commitment to make its own Maps program the equal or better of any other, Apple has posted over three dozen new job postings on its website seeking "ground truth" verification and software engineering specialists for locations all over the world. The expansion follows hiring for "ground truth" staff back in February to help the company make its maps of rural Australia more accurate. Apple also recently acquired two mapping companies -- Locationary, which specialized in business listings, and HopStop for transit data.
Suggests potential expansion for Maps alongside Locationary
On the same day it became public that Apple had purchased business-listing and information service Locationary, it has been confirmed that the iPhone maker has also acquired public transit navigation service HopStop. The most likely plan for the service is to fold it into Maps, Apple's own in-house GPS and mapping program. Apple's decision to forego transit directions when it launched its own Maps app was a major point of criticism from early users, and a selling point that kept many using Google's Maps application once it returned to iOS.
Deal details remain undisclosed, rumored to be $1.3 Bn in cash
Google has confirmed it has closed a deal to purchase the social mapping startup Waze. The acquisition, for an undisclosed amount that is speculated to be around $1.3 billion in cash, will allow Waze to enhance Google Maps with traffic updates and route adjustments, using information provided by the startup's 50 million users.
Country has particular issues with labels in Apple Maps
In addition to a rash of hiring positions the company has recently posted for work on further improving its Maps app, Apple has posted a new job for a "Maps Ground Truth Data Specialist" for Australia. The country has had to deal with sometimes-dangerous levels of incorrect information from both Apple Maps and Google Maps, resulting in police warnings to motorists and others not to rely exclusively on the mapping data provided by the apps. The new position would send people out to verify and correct satellite imagery.
Ground overlays, viewing gesture controls added for developers
On Thursday, Google revealed version 1.1 of its Google Maps SDK for iOS, offering hooks for developers to tap into new features they can offer in their own apps by connecting any mapping functions to Google Maps. In addition to the revised SDK, Google also changed the requirements -- now letting any developer use the kit immediately rather than having to register first. The new SDK brings ground overlays, viewing gesture controls and polylines for complex pathing.
Google Street View now live on Google Maps web app
Google Street View for Google Maps web app is now live, following reports that the company was going to bring it to its web app. It added the functionality following the debut of Apple’s controversial new Maps app for iOS 6 with many users either lamenting the loss of Street View, or looking for a more reliable mapping solution. Users trying to use the Google Maps web app in the same way as they would a native solution will be prompted to add it to their iOS device homescreen when navigating to the site for the first time.
Planes allegedly discriminate objects smaller than four inches
Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) recently sent letters to Google CEO Larry Page and Apple chief Tim Cook decrying usage of "military-grade spy planes" used to generate the 3D images for new map applications for both companies. Concerns range from invasion of privacy all the way up to assisting terrorism in providing details of infrastructure and sensitive government facilities. Neither Apple nor Google have publicly responded to the senator's call to action so far.
3.1.1 adds bugfixes, restores Leopard support
GPS mapping application RouteBuddy released a bugfix upgrade to its recent v3.1 update. Called v3.1.1, the upgrade addresses several bugs as well as restores support for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) users, fixing an issue that caused the program to be unable to launch in 10.5. The new version dramatically increases the speed of importing large geo-data files, speeds up the rendering of all maps available from the company, and includes more recording data.
Offered 3D flyover mapping technology
A Swedish 3D mapping company -- originally developed and owned by auto maker and defense contractor Saab -- called C3 Technologies has been bought and shut down by a mystery buyer, reports Nyteknik.se. The promising technology, which offered highly-realistic 3D aerial and ground maps of large cities to a far greater extent than employed by Google or Microsoft, has been purchased by a non-Asian company in a deal worth $160 million.
Launch includes 200 US locations, more overseas
Navteq has announced that it has expanded its range of mapping services to include indoor areas. The new maps, which are initially focused on shopping centers, include interior map attributes such as escalators, stairs, emergency exits and bathrooms, along with much greater detail for POIs related information such as departments within stores.
Update adds KMZ export, adds measurement tool
Avenza has launched an update to its mapping software for Adobe Illustrator, MAPublisher 8.2. The software produces maps from GIS data for both electronic and print distribution, including GIS-format shapefile, with all attributes and georeferencing intact. It can also handle ESRI, MapInfo, MicroStation, AutoCAD, Google and U.S. Government files, preserving all GIS data attributes and geographic parameters. MAPublisher exports data in a variety of standard GIS formats, along with geospatial PDF documents.
ConceptDraw MINDMAP 5.3
CS Odessa today released ConceptDraw MINDMAP 5.3, an update to the mind mapping business productivity software for Mac OS X. The latest revision enables users to create visual eBooks based on mind maps, producing electronic books where all information is presented as a mind map rather than text paragraphs. ConceptDraw MINDMAP 5.3 is priced at $120 and $200 for the personal or professional edition, respectively (system requirements were unavailable).
First Look at Mindmanager
Images are typically easier to remember than words because people think in pictures. When organizing thoughts, some use a traditional outlining method to arrange concepts using words. Mind mapping is a more efficient way to categorize the thought process, allowing the user to design a physical layout of their ideas with colors, locations, and pictures, in addition to words. You can create a mind map using colored pencils and paper, or you could use a mind-mapping program like MindManager 7 Mac.
Meander 1.2 update out
Fastforward has released an update for Meander, its mapping application for the Mac. The software is used to mark points, plan trips or measure distances on a map, and allows users to pull maps from online sources as well as ones scanned manually. Version 1.2 is a free update, which now lets users create their own custom measurement units, in addition to relying on common standards. The Preferences window in the software has also been reorganized, in order to match the look of the toolbar/unified window interface.
Land Rover turns to iPhone
Photos of the new Land Rover LRX concept car suggest extensive integration with Apple's iPhone and iPod. The vehicle offers a space in the center console where drivers can insert an iPhone to essentially make the cellular handset a part of the car's electronics. The slot is angled to allow both the driver and passenger operate the touch-screen interface while on the road, providing hands-free phone calls along with access to the music library and Google Maps, among other features specific to iPhone.
Meander 2.0 mapping app
Fastforward has launched the second edition of Meander, an advanced mapping application. In addition to planning routes, the software can be used to plot points and measure distances, using scanned maps as well as those pulled from websites such as Google. Version 2.0 updates the interface to better suit Mac OS X Leopard, and further allows users to export routes for posting on the web. Another major change is the ability to draw multiple lines on the same map, made possible by saving customized lines for each route rather than across Meander.
Mac GPS Pro, MacTopos CAN
James Associates has released MacTopos Canada 1.0, a collection of topographical maps for Canadian provinces, and has updated its GPS Software, MacGPS Pro 7.4. MacTopos Canada uses auto-georeferenced, compressed maps to use in conjunction with MacGPS Pro. The maps, which come on several DVDs, are from the National Resources Canada digital topography maps, allowing users to view them in 1:50K and 1:250K scale ratios, and include georeferenced index maps as well. Pricing for the maps vary between $20 and $50, depending on which province is purchased, and James Associates is currently offering them at an introductory discount.