Google To Release iOS Maps

It sounds like it’s going to become a reality in a few hours: Google Maps for iOS 6.

My experience so far with Apple maps hasn’t been terrible. Data quality issues never actually affected me. I have missed the lack of public transit. That is the primary reason I plan to switch over. Public transit integration is critical in NYC.

I’m hoping it’s just a refreshed UI of what was in iOS 5 with as lean of a UI or leaner.

On Apple Maps

Apple switching from Google Maps to its own “creation” is a pretty interesting move. By “creation” I of course mean a mashup of TomTom data and OpenStreetMap data among other sources with their own vector maps and 3D imaging. The 3D thing is a cool effect, but that’s all it is, an effect. I can’t think of many, if any practical uses for it.

The maps from a visual standpoint are quite nice. They look great and are quite readable. At least as good, if not better than Google Maps. The quality of the data however is pretty terrible. The maps are sometimes incomplete and things aren’t placed correctly.

In my opinion the worst offense is the lack of public transit data. For larger cities like New York, San Francisco, London that is a high-profile gap. Given the size of the population in those cities (and how much of the press operates out of those), it just makes the problem that much worse. Given that data is pretty accessible (NY’s MTA even has a website dedicated to it), I can’t see how they let that one slip. Simply showing stations and what trains are there would have been a huge improvement.

The upside to all this is maps is really a web-based service. That means Apple can iterate on it 24×7 without having to release a ton of updates. That means the maps in theory will improve in quality over time without most people even realizing.

That said, cartography is really difficult stuff.

Tour Kennedy Space Center In Google Maps

NASA - Shuttle Atlantis - Google Maps Tour

The folks at Gizmodo point out that Google Maps has an awesome feature now that lets you tour NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. You can point and click your way through all the different parts you’d never have the security clearance to go yourself.

Needless to say I spent a nice little chunk of the evening browsing around.

The Best Of April Fools Day 2012

Unlike many of my peers I’m not really a curmudgeon when it comes to Internet pranks on April Fools. Some are cool, others aren’t very well done. Get on with it. There wasn’t that much this year, presumably because April 1 falls on a weekend this year. Two however were pretty awesome:

Google Maps 8 Bit “Quest”

April Fools Google Quest

This is just outright awesome. It’s a fully “usable” 8-bit version of their map. This wasn’t just a quickie hack, it’s actually well implemented and complete. It’s very NES.

XKCD’s Targeted Comics

Everyone’s favorite comic XKCD went over the top by creating a bunch of targeted comics based on several aspects including browser, ISP, and location. The folks at reddit have been working to break it down. It’s quite complicated and clearly took some time. A lot of comics were drawn to make this work.

Sitcom Homes On Google Maps

I always thought it would be fun to locate some classic TV locations and find them on Google Maps. Here’s some of the more interesting things I’ve found in my research. Each photo is a link to Google maps with the actual location should you want to pan around your favorite neighborhoods.

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MacWorld SF 2008

Another year, another great day of news coverage. I’m obsessed with watching it evolve and monitor several sites throughout the keynote. As expected this was a pretty big one. I suspect this year will contain the most product announcements of any year for Apple. They have a lot of products due for a refresh and announcements expected. Even Steve himself said:

All of this in the first two weeks, and we’ve got fifty more weeks to go.

In all the keynotes I’ve followed, this was the most aggressive agenda. 2008 is going to rock for Apple products.

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Google Maps – Now with Satellite

I have been a fan of Google Maps since day 1. It’s the best service out there so far. Now with Satellite mode it’s even better. But still, it doesn’t compare to the goodness that is Keyhole. I tried Keyhole a few months ago, and I didn’t go to sleep for the length of my 1 week trial. I was addicted. I saw the world. I’m still hoping Google will perhaps throw in some localized Adwords (shows relevant local ads based on where you are), and make a free version available. Keyhole’s animations and quality are amazing. Not to mention it does things other than North America.