Monday, September 24, 2012

Apple Maps - Therein Lies the Problem

For some time now, the geospatial community has been waiting to see if Apple would be able to pull off its plan to unplug Google Maps from its operating system (see: Mobile Mapping Wars: Apple Versus Google).  Last week, the answer arrived.  Yes - and no. With release of Apple's latest operating system, Apple officially launched it's own map application, but reviews on that move have been less than kind. To get a sense of what is being said, click the links below, or view the video:  

Apple’s Feud With Google Is Now Felt on iPhone (New York Times, September 23, 2012)

Comment: Earlier this month, The Atlantic ran an in-depth article about the behind the scenes effort at Google Maps (see: How Google Builds Its Maps and What It Means for the Future of Everything). At the center of that story is a discussion about the enormity of effort it took to make Google Maps what it is today. In that thought, and the disappointment felt by many about the Apple Maps launch, is the single most important lesson any individual in the Emergency Service Sector will ever need to learn about geospatial technologies: "It's not the hardware or operating system that matters, IT'S THE DATA!!!"  Just because some vendor comes to town hawking the biggest, fastest, newest hardware/software combination around, doesn't mean understanding of "where" is going to improve. The ONLY way that is going to happen is through the collaborative sharing of geospatial data across the public-private enterprise. Without that kind of effort, that new computer or hand-held is nothing more than a paper weight when it comes to "where".  

To learn what the Twin Cities is trying to do to solve this problem, click here.

Lead graphic: Apple

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