Apple’s Indoor Maps for Airports and Shopping Malls in iOS 11 Slowly Rolling Out

Apple has slowly begun enabling indoor maps for select airports and shopping malls, providing an early look at the new Apple Maps feature coming in iOS 11.


On devices running iOS 11 beta, indoor maps are available now in Apple Maps for Philadelphia International Airport and Mineta San Jose International Airport, and for shopping malls Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose, California and Westfield San Francisco Centre in San Francisco, California.

Indoor maps will provide detailed floor plans of major airports and shopping malls around the world, allowing iOS 11 users to plan ahead.

At airports, for example, Apple Maps users can tap "look inside" or simply zoom in to view terminals, boarding gates, security checkpoints, airline check-in desks, baggage claim carousels, information kiosks, restrooms, stores, restaurants, parking garages, and even escalators, elevators, and stairs.

Apple Maps users can browse by floor, or search for shops, food, drinks, or restrooms in a specific terminal. Tapping on a restaurant, for example, brings up a detailed place card with photos, hours, and additional information.


Likewise, at shopping malls, Apple Maps users can zoom in to view the exact location of stores, restaurants, restrooms, escalators, elevators, and stairs on each floor. Users can also filter stores by categories such as clothes, shoes, accessories, beauty, food, and drinks, with detailed place cards for each.

Apple senior executive Craig Federighi previewed Apple Maps indoor maps at its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month. Skip to around the 1:07:50 mark of Apple's WWDC 2017 keynote video.


At launch, indoor maps will be limited to select airports and shopping malls, in cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto, and the Washington D.C. area. Apple said more locations will be added over time.

The feature is only available in iOS 11, which is currently in beta testing. The second developer beta was released on Wednesday, and a public beta will be released later this month. The software update officially launches in the fall.


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Apple Paying Freelancers to Improve the Accuracy of Apple Maps

In an effort to improve Apple Maps, which many iPhone users still consider to be inferior to Google Maps, Apple has enlisted the help of contracted freelancers to validate the accuracy of points of interest and other information, in exchange for micropayments, according to French blog iGeneration.


For the past year, through a platform called TryRating, Apple has reportedly paid freelancers 54 cents per task on average, with each task often only taking a few minutes to complete. The fine print allegedly limits freelancers to 600 completed tasks, and no more than 20 hours worked, per week.

The report doesn't specify how freelancers are selected, but they appear to be recruited through a third-party subcontractor.

A typical task, for example, could be verifying the accuracy and relevance of the search results that Apple Maps shows for a "McDonald's" query for a particular location. The freelancer's task would be to ensure the McDonald's restaurants listed are within a close distance, have accurate addresses, and so forth.

Apple's so-called TryRating platform with a typical verification task

Apple supposedly has a 200-page Maps Search Evaluation Guidelines document that freelancers are required to follow.

One of the examples Apple provides is a search from Somerville, Massachusetts for "Machu Picchu," a well-known historical site in Peru, but also the name of a local restaurant in the city. A freelancer's task would be to ensure all of the search results for "Machu Picchu" are contextually relevant.

iGeneration's in-depth report provides further details about Apple's so-called TryRating platform, which it likens to Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

Apple Maps launched in 2012 and was quickly criticized for having incomplete and inaccurate mapping data, which led some iPhone users on dangerous routes. Apple CEO Tim Cook offered a rare public apology for the frustration it caused customers, and then iOS chief Scott Forstall was ousted just one month later.

Apple Maps still gets a bad rap among some users, but Apple's continued efforts to improve the app should help reverse some of those opinions.


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Apple Maps Transit Directions Now Supported in the Netherlands

Apple Maps has been recently updated with public transit information for those living in and traveling to the Netherlands. Transit directions allow users to navigate the Netherlands thanks to integration with the Intercity direct train line, various bus routes, trams, and ferries.


Transit in the Netherlands includes up-to-date advisory information with the help of data accumulated from various local transportation companies including NS, Connexxion, and GVB (via iPhoned). With the data, Apple Maps can warn users about reduced service, or a complete service shutdown, and update their transit trip directions accordingly.

Apple first added in a small amount of transit data to various Dutch cities last week, including the appearance of train, tram, and metro stations for a few areas, but had yet to turn on live schedule information for public transport. Most recently, areas including Singapore and Adelaide, Australia have received transit updates in Apple Maps.

Transit directions first launched with iOS 9 back in 2015 with just a handful of cities supported, but now Apple has kept up a consistent pace with adding new areas all over the world. In total, more than 10 countries now include transit directions, as do most major United States cities like Boston, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. It appears the rollout in the Netherlands will be ongoing since the area has yet to appear on the supported transit list on Apple's website.


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Apple Maps Transit Directions Now Available in Adelaide, Australia

Apple Maps has been updated with comprehensive transit data in Adelaide, Australia, enabling iPhone users in the city to navigate with public transportation, primarily including Adelaide Metro buses and commuter trains.


Apple Maps gained a Transit tab in iOS 9. The feature lags several years behind Google Maps, but Apple's public transportation support is exhaustive, mapping all station entrances and listing departure times.

At launch, the feature was limited to Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, and over 300 cities in China. Since then, Apple has been working to expand support for public transportation to other cities around the world.

Newer additions include Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Manchester, Melbourne, Miami, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Montréal, New Orleans, Paris, Portland, Pittsburgh, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C.

A complete list of cities that support Transit in Apple Maps is available on the iOS Feature Availability page of Apple's website.

(Thanks, Bernd!)


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Apple Maps Transit Directions Now Available in Singapore

As Apple prepares to open its first retail store in Singapore, the company has also expanded Apple Maps feature availability in the city-state, enabling transit directions.

Transit information may still be in the process of rolling out to all customers, but according to the iOS section of Apple's Singaporean website, and a feature availability list, transit directions are live in Singapore.


Apple Maps now allows users to get directions for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system that spans across most of Singapore using the "Transport" tab within the app. Each MRT line is color-coded for simple navigation.

Along with transit directions, Apple Maps in Singapore is also gaining points of interest, a feature designed to highlight notable buildings, parks, and other landmarks.

Transit directions have been available since iOS 9 launched in 2015, and while availability was limited at launch, Apple has been slowly expanding transit information to various countries around the world.

More than 10 countries now have access to transit directions, and the feature has also expanded to many locations in the United States. A full list of where Transit directions are available can be found on Apple's website.


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Apple Maps Vehicles Begin Surveying Connecticut, Imagery Could Aid Apple’s Autonomous Driving Efforts

Apple has updated its website to indicate that its Apple Maps vehicles will begin surveying Connecticut for the first time this month.


For nearly two years, Apple has been driving vehicles around the world to collect data for Apple Maps—widely believed to be street-level imagery. Since 2015, the vehicles have surveyed over 30 states in the United States, in addition to parts of the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and Sweden.

Apple said it will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication, suggesting that it could be working on adding a Street View feature to Apple Maps, similar to what Google Maps has offered for several years. But, the imagery and other mapping data could be used for a variety of purposes.

When Apple's fleet of Dodge Caravans first hit the streets, it was speculated they could be the basis of an Apple Car. But those rumors quieted down after the vans were labeled with Apple Maps decals, and because Apple has shifted towards autonomous driving software, rather than an entire vehicle, at least for now.

Moreover, the California Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed that Apple is using a fleet of Lexus SUVs, which have since been spotted on the road, to test self-driving software. It's known that Apple's platform currently uses a Logitech wheel and pedals, and drivers can take over manually if necessary.

Nevertheless, so-called Apple Maps vehicles could still be playing a role in the company's autonomous driving plans.

Neil Cybart, an independent Apple analyst at Above Avalon, told MacRumors that Apple Maps vehicles are "very likely capturing mapping data," such as street level imagery, that will aid Apple's autonomous driving efforts.
I don't think these Apple Maps vehicles are just meant to improve Apple Maps. Instead, my suspicion is they are part of Project Titan. Specifically, the vehicles are likely playing a role in building the groundwork for Apple's autonomous driving technology. The data collected by these vehicles may be used for testing autonomous driving technology using indoor simulation.
Cybart, who confirmed seeing an Apple Maps vehicle in Connecticut earlier this week, said the mapping data collected could be a "foundation" for Apple's autonomous driving technology platform.
Apple Maps vehicles are not autonomous cars. Instead, they are very likely capturing mapping data (i.e. imagery) that will aid Apple's autonomous driving efforts. My view is that this mapping data isn't just for Apple Maps Street View, which wouldn't be too useful, but rather for building a mapping foundation for Apple's autonomous driving technology platform.
Connecticut and many other states that Apple has surveyed don't currently allow autonomous vehicle testing on their public roads, so Apple very likely is collecting data only, as it says. Whether that data is used for a Street View feature, autonomous driving software, or both, remains to be seen.


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Apple Maps Gets Traffic Data for Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates

Apple has updated its Maps app with traffic data for major metropolitan areas in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

So far, the new coverage extends to the capitals of the two countries and other heavily populated areas, with more limited traffic information on major highways and thoroughfares also available.


Examples in UAE include Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, and Al Ain, with locations in Saudi Arabia including Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, and Ta'if.

Turn-by-turn navigation still appears to be unavailable in the Middle East regions, which may explain why Apple hasn't added the countries to its iOS feature availability page, but the inclusion of traffic data strongly suggests Apple is about to follow up with live direction information.

The update marks Apple's first visible effort to increase its geographical data services to the Middle East beyond the standard street information and notable points of interest.

(Thanks, Ram!)


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Apple Maps Now Supports Transit in Paris

Apple Maps has been updated with transit data for Paris, enabling iPhone users in the city and the greater Île-de-France region to navigate with public transportation, such as the subway, commuter trains, and buses.


Apple Maps supports many public transportation services operated by the RATP Group, including the Métro subway system, RER commuter trains, and buses. Transilien trains and select other services are also supported in the suburbs.

Apple Maps is several years behind Google Maps in supporting transit routing in Paris, as in many other cities, but Apple's public transportation support is comprehensive, mapping all station entrances and listing departure times.


Apple Maps has had a Transit tab since iOS 9.

At launch, the feature was limited to Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, and over 300 cities in China. Since then, Apple has been working to expand support for public transportation to other cities around the world.

Newer additions include Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Manchester, Melbourne, Miami, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Montréal, New Orleans, Portland, Pittsburgh, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C.

Apple Maps transit support in Paris was expected, as station outlines in the city increased significantly in the weeks leading up to today's rollout. Likewise, transit directions may soon be enabled in Adelaide and Perth in Australia, Las Vegas, Madrid, Phoenix, Rome, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.

A smaller number of station outlines in Apple Maps are visible in the American and Canadian cities of Albuquerque, Buffalo, Calgary, Edmonton, Orlando, Ottawa, Nashville, Norfolk, St. Louis, and Tucson.

A complete list of cities that support Transit in Apple Maps is available on the iOS Feature Availability page of Apple's website.

(Thanks, Bernd!)


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Apple Maps Hints at Transit Directions Expanding in United States, Australia, Canada, and Europe

Apple Maps has had a Transit tab since iOS 9, enabling iPhone users to navigate using buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation.


At launch, the feature was limited to Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, and over 300 cities in China. Since then, Apple has been working to expand support for public transportation to other cities around the world.

Newer additions include Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Manchester, Melbourne, Miami, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Montréal, New Orleans, Portland, Pittsburgh, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C.

Now, there is evidence to suggest that Apple Maps will soon support transit directions in several other cities around the world.

MacRumors reader Bernd Keuning, who keeps close tabs on Apple Maps and has been a reliable tipster, believes that we might soon see transit directions enabled in the following cities and countries, as station outlines visible on the map in each area have increased significantly in the past few weeks:
  • Adelaide, Australia
  • Perth, Australia
  • German states of Hamburg, Bremen, Niedersachsen, and Schleswig-Holstein
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Madrid
  • The Netherlands
  • Paris
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Rome
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
Keuning also expects Apple Maps to eventually support transit directions in the following cities in the United States and Canada, but it might take longer for the feature to expand to these areas, as only a single or handful of red station outlines have been added over the past few weeks in most of these locations:
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Orlando, FL
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Nashville, TN
  • Norfolk, VA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Tucson, AZ
Apple Maps typically adds station outlines to a city shortly before expanding support for transit directions to the area. MacRumors has verified that each city listed above does have at least one station outline in Apple Maps.

Keuning believes that the first areas to support Transit in Apple Maps next could include Adelaide, including at least all services from Adelaide Metro and Great Southern Rail intercity service to Melbourne, and the Netherlands, including international trains to Brussel, Berlin, Frankfurt, and possibly Paris.

Google Maps has offered wider support for transit directions for quite some time, but it's nice to see Apple Maps catching up with careful consideration.

A complete list of cities that support Transit in Apple Maps is available on the iOS Feature Availability page of Apple's website.


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Apple Updates Maps in Europe With EV Charge Stations and Bike Rental Hubs

Apple is expanding the available features in its Maps app in Europe according to a briefing that was held in London on Wednesday and shared by Bloomberg.

Apple Maps for iOS devices and Macs now includes locations of electric vehicle charging stations in the UK, thanks to a partnership with Cirrantic Moovility. More than 3,000 EV charging stations are available in the Maps app in the UK.


In the United States, electric vehicle charging stations have been listed in Maps since December of 2016, through a partnership with ChargePoint.
"We think that consistent, live information of the growing charger infrastructure increases the confidence of EV drivers and, especially with Apple Maps, attracts new user groups to sustainable mobility offerings like EV cars," said Arne Meusel, CEO and co-founder of Cirrantic. "In the U.K. we started with supporting the major charger operators, including Podpoint, CYC, Ecotricity, NPower and NewMotion. Any interested operator is welcome to set up a connection with us."
Apple is also introducing public bicycle rental and drop-off points in London, Paris, and New York, an addition that's meant to bring Apple Maps in line with Google Maps, which also lists public bicycle rental locations.

Additional Maps improvements are likely on the horizon as Apple works to open a new Apple Maps development center in Hyderabad, India, which will employ more than 4,000 people. Apple is also employing a team of robotics and data collection experts who will use drones to further bolster Apple Maps.


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