Rick Martin
Rick Martin
8:45 pm on Sep 20, 2012

google maps apple maps

Photo: japanmobiletech.com

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has abandoned Google Maps in favor of its own solution in the newly released iOS. But it seems that from a consumer point of view, that this move has some undesirable consequences – at least in Asia.

Japan Mobile Tech blog contrasts the very low detail for some areas in Japan, notably some train stations which show up as little more than a point on a map. Of course Google has a pretty big head start in developing its maps, and Apple will improve over time – but in terms of delivering the best possible experience to your users, there is little doubt that this isn’t it. JMT also says that even Narita airport is apparently not in Apple’s database [1].

Meanwhile, across the water in China it appears that Apple has an entirely different set of problems. Tony Zhu over on Morning Whistle claims that some users are finding their maps app being directed to maps from TomTom (AMS:TOM2), Apple’s partner outside of China, rather than maps from Apple’s China partner, AutoNavi (NASDAQ:AMAP).

Islands for everyone!


And if that wasn’t enough of a clustermuck, Samuel Wade points out on Twitter that Apple’s map has duplicated the disputed Senkaku islands, showing two sets where there should be just one (pictured right) [2]. Is this Apple’s effort at a diplomatic solution, providing a set of islands for each country?

It might be a screw up, but it’s certainly better than Baidu’s stance.

  1. Note that I’ve not yet tried an iOS 6 upgrade. But I’ll likely give it a go over the weekend.  ↩

  2. Thanks to Håvard for the tip!  ↩

  • http://www.jfwhome.com John Wells

    The duplicated islands is likely due to China’s map GPS offset — all maps in China are offset by a formulaic vector, as required by local laws (you still need a ‘license to do cartography in China, and “official locations” still seem to be a secret, so the government’s solution is this clusterf*ck). As a result, many GPS applications show your position a few hundred yards away from your actual location, unless a correcting vector is applied to either the GPS signal or the map.

    So when you map China and the rest of the world on a single map, there’s going to be an offset — and disputed islands will appear in one place if they are Chinese, and another if they are Japanese.

    However, this isn’t the main problem with China’s new maps. I have a Chinese iPhone 4S, and the biggest issue is that satellite imagery is *only* provided for China. Go to another location — e.g. the UK, my home country, and… no satellite imagery. Very, very annoying. Newsflash, Apple: People do travel.

  • Mike Chen

    @John Wells I don’t know why satellite images are not showing up for you, since clearly my iPhone bought in China under contract with local carrier does load maps and most of the time, offset in map is mitigated by an algorithm used after retrieval of GPS position that applies the same offset to your actual position, so that two offsets cancel out each other, although satellite images are sometime not mapped correctly.

  • http://Www.jfwhome.com John Wells


    Yes, exactly. That is how the offset works, and likely the reason for the duplicated islands as I explained.

    Everyone is having the same problems in iOS6 with missing satellite imagery for the world apart from China. A Google search turns up hundreds of results already. It appears to be a function of where you are connecting from, not the country of origin of the device.

  • http://www.onlyforyou.com/ Webseite

    1:34 da musste ich nochmal stoppen :)

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