Apple Maps, 9 years later

From Wesley Hilliard’s “Compared: Apple Maps versus Google Maps in 2022” posted Friday on AppleInsider:

Apple Maps has come a long way in its decade on the market, but Google Maps hasn’t stopped improving either. Here’s how the two mapping giants compare in 2022.

When Apple replaced Google Maps with Apple Maps in 2013, there was a period of chaos. The original map data was subpar, directions outright wrong, and imagery worse. Apple tried to combine multiple data sources into one map app with poor results.

However, Apple has now had ten years to build upon that initial failure and create a competent competitor to Google Maps — at least in the United States. Apple has even leapfrogged Google in terms of experience, feature set, and map detail in some cases.

My take: These side-by-side comparisons are disproportionally labor-intensive. Hats off to writers who do them well.

See also: Apple Maps vs Google Maps – smartphone mapping titans battle it out in 2020

12 Comments

  1. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    @PED Good to see this recent comparison. Considering the commotion nine years ago, Apple Maps has indeed come a long way. Integrated into Apple CarPlay, I’m frequently using Maps and appreciate the company’s relentless pursuit of excellence. I’m obviously an Apple partisan and thus inclined to use whatever the company offers versus competing or alternate products. There will always be some trade-offs between services, but privacy is not something I wish to compromise.

    3
    May 13, 2022
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      RPL —

      Ditto upon ditto upon ditto.

      1
      May 13, 2022
  2. Daniel Epstein said:
    Personally I use Apple maps very often. Both for driving and transit here in NYC It has better integration with my watch than Google Maps and others. That is one of my main reasons I prefer it. Yes it has had problems in the past with addresses that were not accurate etc. The improvement on the basics has been huge. None of the providers have been perfect but all are a big improvement over asking for directions. Just having a good ETA for arrival makes my life better.

    3
    May 13, 2022
    • Fred Stein said:
      Daniel upvoted – key point – none are perfect.

      In the case of Maps, we see another secret to Apple’s success. Apple, and us loyal users, hang in there as Apple reaches for perfection. That asset, Apple’s social contract, counts for a lot. Can’t measure it though.

      2
      May 13, 2022
      • Robert Paul Leitao said:
        Fred: Just catching up on comments after a long day. “Apple’s social contract.” I like it. It’s another “intangible tangible” about Apple. Thank you.

        0
        May 14, 2022
  3. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    I’ve always said that a bedrock layer of Apple’s success is their natural and effective understanding and implementation of humanness.

    E. g. — A simple human interface element — next turn directions. They replaced “In 500 ft., turn right” with “At the next stop sign turn right”.

    So natural and simple, a child would understand. A tiny change with lovely consequences.

    Stay young. Stay foolish — 😉

    2
    May 13, 2022
  4. John Konopka said:
    I haven’t used google maps in a while, not since I traveled doing sales support. Sometimes it took me into a dead end. The worst was sending me to businesses that were shut down. In the United States Apple Maps works great.

    0
    May 13, 2022
  5. Hugh Lovell said:
    I’ve used Maps in SF Bay Area, UK, Buenos Aires and Sydney. It has not let me down. I love the Watch integration and I use it when walking. Just a tap on the wrist for the direction to turn at intersections. I look less like a tourist as I’m not staring at my iPhone.

    0
    May 13, 2022
  6. Jacob Feenstra said:
    What I really like that, when driving, I can say “Hey Siri, lead me to such-and-such a place!” and then later tell her to switch of Directions (so I don’t have to listen to what I already know). That’s the power of integration.
    Yes, overall Maps has improved, especially in North America, UK, some European countries, Singapore, etc.—in other words, places where the iPhone has a substantial penetration. But in many Asian countries it is really not on par yet with some other apps. I prefer using Waze (Google owned) when I’m in Asia.

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    May 13, 2022
  7. Jerry Doyle said:
    I mostly use Google Maps but do use frequently Apple Maps. I have not traveled internationally since Covid was announced in February, 2020. I hope to start back in 2023. I found Apple Maps to be wanting in international travels in comparison with Google Maps. I am looking forward in 2023 to start my comparisons again.

    Domestically, I still find Google Maps superior, but Apple Maps much improved from years ago. As far as I am concern, Apple still is behind. One reason I do use Apple Maps more is its integration with the Apple Watch. That integration is such a nice feature for orientation and directional travel, all right there with a flick of the wrist.

    I used Apple Maps in Dallas this week for travel to a business appointment. It took me to the wrong street several miles away. I had to revert over to Google Maps to get the correct route. It is these unfortunate experiences that leave me skittish with relying entirely on Apple Maps. I often find myself using both Maps to confirm 100% accuracy in the route. If the accuracy is there with Apple, then because of its integration with the Apple Watch I switch to Apple Maps.

    Summary: It is my personal experience that Apple Maps has come a very long way in catching up to Google Maps, but still lags behind Google Maps.

    0
    May 13, 2022
    • Jacob Feenstra said:
      Your experience is mine as well. Apple Maps has done well for the bigger landmarks and businesses, but as soon as you want to go to some smaller outfit, it is not as well-informed (crowd-informed) as Google Maps (and Waze). In North America I at times cross-check with Google. Because of that I might have prevented a couple of experiences that Robert Stack wrote about. And as mentioned in Asia I mostly use Waze.

      On traveling during the COVID season… you didn’t miss much, Jerry, apart from empty planes, empty airports and tons of obstacles and quarantining! I didn’t travel nearly as much as before COVID hit—enjoyed the reprieve—but I had to go through the hassle a handful of times.

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      May 13, 2022
  8. Robert Stack said:
    While I agree with most of the commentary above, two very bad experiences in the last week took me right back to the early days of the flawed product. Currently on a trip back east, I wanted directions from Lancaster PA to Toms River NJ. Should have been simple, but instead Maps took me deep into Fort Dix in southern Jersey. After a long ride past multiple gunnery ranges, I came to a dead end and there was no way out. Backtracking, I came across two other drivers that were in the same predicament, along with signs saying: “US Govt Property: Trespassers May Be Prosecuted” (these were not visible on the way in). As we all tried to backtrack, Maps kept “recalculating” and telling us to go back the way it initially calculated – enormously frustrating and a huge waste of time! Suggestions for Apple: 1) Don’t take drivers onto Ft Dix or any other military base; 2) Maybe recalculate an alternate route if your initial directions are ignored?

    Next day: Coming down I-95 into MD, it gave me the worst possible directions to get to Germantown MD by routing me onto I-695 when it immediately informed me of two major accidents on the route. This set me back nearly two hours (!) as traffic was backed up for miles! There are so many alternate routes on good roads – I’m still scratching my head why it selected this particular route. Downright angry, I downloaded Google Maps on my iPhone the next day. Though I’m still wondering if I’ll use it…Grrrr!

    0
    May 13, 2022

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