I have been using Apple Maps in this New Orleans since the service debuted in 2012. Although I have never had any problems with Apple Maps that caused someone else to insist on just using Google Maps, I have definitely added Notice some strikes along the way. For example, there is one road I take to work every day that I know is the most direct way to go, but for many years, Apple Maps has suggested that I take an alternative route. I happened to be using the Apple Maps guide to go the same route a few days ago, when I noticed for the first time that CarPlay wasn't trying to redirect me. I thought to myself that Apple Maps has finally learned the way, but didn't think about it much more than that. But then I saw reports last weekend, on sites like MacRumors, that the upgraded data for Apple Maps (which Apple executives discussed a year ago with Matthew Panzarino of TechCrnch) is now available in Texas, Louisiana and Southern Mississippi.
MacRumors J oe Rossignol reports that the enhanced maps first arrived in Northern California (including the San Francisco area where Apple is headquartered) in July 201
You can tell that only the lower half of Mississippi is included in this update either by looking at the map above (click to enlarge) or just by looking at the state of your own iPhone or iPad because th the lower half of the state is light green, but the upper half is not. This reflects one of the changes to the new Apple Maps data: it's much more detailed on each map, including a more precise indication of which areas are undeveloped (in green) and which areas are developed (in light yellow). As Panzarino explained in his article: "Water, swimming pools (brand new on the maps), sports areas and vegetation are now more prominent and effluent thanks to new applications for computer vision and satellite imagery." Building shapes and sizes are also more accurate in the new maps.
Based on my very simplified arrows indicating the passage of time, and my (perhaps incorrect) assumption that Apple will continue to move in the same direction, I assume that if you live in areas like Mobile, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia, you may be in the area that next time will see enhanced Apple Maps. Apple executive Eddy Cute told Panzarino in the 2018 TechCrunch article: "Over the next year, we're rolling it out, section by section in the United States."
If I had known this update was coming, I would have taken some screenshots of the Maps app last Thursday so I could do some before-and-after photos. I didn't, but I can still give you one example. When I reviewed Apple Watch Series 4 last year, I included a photo of an outdoor tour around a playground I took while my daughter was attending a soccer practice. The first image below comes from the Apple Watch app, but it uses the same underlying map data that was in the Apple Maps app last year. The second photo below was taken last night, with the new map data. As you can see there is more detail in the new map and you can even clearly see the baseball diamond at the top of the map in the newer image. You can also see more precise details in the shapes of the building surrounding the playground.
I do not have a" before "image for this next one, but here is a picture of Audubon Park in New Orleans using the newer maps. You can now clearly identify each hole on the golf course, including the sand catchers:
The visual changes are interesting, but as Panzarino explained in his article last year, the new update to Apple Maps is not just about the map image. is that Apple started collecting its own map data last year, it gets some information using vehicles that drive around areas, and it gets other information from all of our iPhones, although, as explained in the TechCrunch article, all the information becomes which is uploaded to Apple, managed in a way to maintain users' privacy. By adding their own data to data retrieved from others, the map engine itself is more precise, which explains why my iPhone now agrees with me on the most direct route to my office.
Better data is just part of what's new in Apple Maps, as I noted in the preview of iOS 13, which comes to all iPhones and iPads this fall, maps in iOS 13 will have additional more details, plus Apple added their version of Google Street View so you can see what it would be like in one place and look around 360º with smooth transitions from one place to another.
The new map data combined with the new features of iOS 13 will make Apple Maps even more useful. I'm glad I now have it in the neck of the woods, and it will be great when available in even more areas.