Apple moves to improve maps by hiring in “Ground Truth” mapping team globally

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Apple Inc. is hiring people for its Apple Maps division as it also asks iOS 7 beta users for help.

According to job postings on Apple’s website, the company is looking to aggressively hire personnel in its “Ground Truth” mapping team all over the world to improve the quality of its maps.

The new job posting shows that Apple is looking to increase the size of its dedicated team that verifies and improves mapping data.

The new job postings on Apple’s website hint at Apple’s continued commitment to improve their much criticized maps application.

Despite rolling out a number of improvements, Apple’s maps still remain way behind Google’s in terms of accuracy and coverage, especially internationally, which is why Apple’s looking to have a “Maps Ground Truth Local Expert” in countries like Japan, Korea, China, Germany, India etc.

Apple was forced to enter the map business when Google — which had been supplying the map data for the previous Maps program on iOS — refused to incorporate advanced features present in the Android version, such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration and traffic conditions. As Apple’s in-house efforts improved, Google rushed to create an iOS 6-compatible version of its own Maps app that had all the features Apple had tried to license, despite a flurry of denials that later turned out to be false.

The job posting reads in part:

The Maps team is looking for people with knowledge of mapping, great testing skills, and local expertise to help us build better and better maps. In this position, you will be responsible for the quality of map data for your region. You will test changes to map data, provide feedback on unique local map requirements, collect ground truth information, and evaluate competing products.

 

The position, which requires at least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, added, “In this position, you will be responsible for the quality assessment of Apple Maps for your region, including both data and map services.  You will monitor changes to our maps, provide feedback on unique local map requirements, collect ground truth information, and evaluate competing products.”

The listings include jobs in Paris, Milan, Seoul, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Instanbul, Moscow, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Prague, Cork (Ireland), Mexico City, Santiago, Munich, Auckland, Barcelona, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Montreal, Abu Dhabi, Haifa, Hong Kong, London, Warsaw, Sydney (Australia) and US cities New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington DC. Some of the positions are for “regional managers” rather than “local experts.”

The expansion follows hiring for “ground truth” staff back in February to help the company make its maps of rural Australia more accurate.

The Apple Maps update come as the Cupertino organization made acquisitions of two smaller navigation companies – online transit-navigation service HopStop Inc. and Toronto-based location-data company Locationary.

The company has also added a new feature, “Help Improve Maps?”  in the beta versions of iOS 7 that invites users to help improve its maps features.

The iOS 7 beta users, should the device owner choose to enable Improve Maps, would allow Apple to correlate street addressed associated with the Apple ID registered in the device.

The Apple ID correlation with the GPS coordinates will work with the Frequent Locations feature on the iOS 7 owner’s device.

“This will enable Apple to better approximate the geographic location of that address,” noted the Cupertino-based organization in the description for Improve Maps.

Apple added that the results from the correlation will be anonymous in efforts to improve its maps app and other location-based services by the company.

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Written by Regina Timothy

Editor of TechNews Report. Loves all things technology

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