In early February, we covered here on the website the discovery of special cars equipped with cameras and sensors that would point to a secret Apple project. At the time there was talk of the possibility of a competitor for Google Street View, but then the focus turned quite a lot to a possible Ma vehicle.
Because today the 9to5Mac has published a new article gathering pieces with information obtained from its own sources and states that Apple plans to adopt a specific geographic base for its Maps by 2017, at the latest 2018.
As we know, Apple Maps have been heavily criticized since they replaced Google Maps on iOS in 2012. Since then, Apple has made many advances in them, but most of the problems stem from the fact that it “merges” data from several different partners on their Maps, including TomTom who just renewed their partner agreement with Ma and Yelp.
Seeking more control over the data and in order to offer a better user experience, Apple would be using vans like this to capture its own data. And they include not only streets and avenues, but also pictures of buildings and three-dimensional drawings of cities. With this, the company will be able to incorporate frontal images of establishments in its Maps and also launch some type of competitor of Street View, or perhaps a version of its own Flyover from a point of view of the ground.
As this is a process that takes time, for now Apple still depends a lot on its partners. And, regardless of this ambitious project (internally called "Gardar"), we should already see some news coming soon with iOS 9 including public transport routes (however limited in terms of coverage initially) and augmented reality.