Detailed Analysis Compares Apple Maps Data with Google Maps


Cartographer Justin O’Beirne, who is known for his contributions to Apple Maps as well as his cartography-focused blog, has compared the quality of Apple’s mapping data with that of Google’s in considerable detail, while explaining the competitive advantage Google has over Apple and everyone else, thanks to the amount of time the company has been collecting data for.


In 2005, Google debuted Maps and added the Street View feature to it in 2007. Apple Maps on the other hand, was first previewed at WWDC in June of 2012, and was released with iOS 6 in September of the same year. “Google has gathered so much data, in so many areas, that it’s now crunching it together and creating features that Apple can’t make—surrounding Google Maps with a moat of time”, writes O’Beirne. 

The author highlights how Google creates this data using their satellite imagery, while Apple likely sources their data from a third-party like TomTom. He explains that by building a robust data library in-house, Google has been able to generate their own metadata, which gives them a significant competitive advantage.

With “Areas of Interest”, Google has a feature that Apple doesn’t have. But it’s unclear if Apple could add this feature to its map in the near future. The challenge for Apple is that AOIs aren’t collected—they’re created. And Apple appears to be missing the ingredients to create AOIs at the same quality, coverage, and scale as Google.

Apple, like Google, has also been collecting aerial imagery—and that it’s been doing this for at least the last five years. But unlike Google, Apple doesn’t appear to be extracting buildings out of its imagery. And in areas where Apple does have buildings, it appears that they’re being sourced from third-parties, such as TomTom.

You can read the super-lengthy article in its entirety at the source page.


  • FragilityG4

    In Ontario Apple maps are still more accurate. I deleted google maps years ago. BC people, commence your rants! Hahaha

  • ben

    would be nice that apple let us use google map or waze with carplay… at leat until map is good enough…

  • clee666

    Google Map has classrooms detailed in our college. Very nice!

  • MikeJenkinson

    My only contribution to the Google Maps vs. Apple Maps debate is that Apple Maps once tried to murder me by telling me to turn right onto a non-existent road where a train was crossing.

  • Tim

    Apple maps has been nothing but a big black hole of investment for the company. The only thing that’s good about it (from a user perspective) is that it has forced Google to keep improving the product that most of use today. Apple maps goes straight to the “crap” folder every time I start with a fresh install. I’d probably delete it, but there is the rare occasion where I want to cross reference between the two

  • Bailey

    Don’t know what part of ON you are in.

  • Lol!

  • FragilityG4


  • Bailey

    That’s weird, I live and work in the GTA too and I still find google maps better. Especially for the routing and rerouting around traffic.

  • FragilityG4

    I can’t stand google maps. They always tell me I’m at my destination and it ends up being three or four buildings away. Apple maps tells I’m there when I’m there. The lane guidance is great and it also is quite good at rerouting around traffic.

  • Google Maps ftw

  • Eric

    Waze, told me to go right on one way in Toronto… Apparently the road recently changed and the map was not up to date.. Almost got into an accident.

  • MrXax

    Apple Maps is garbage compared to Google Maps. And I’m annoyed that iOS *still* doesn’t let me set Google Maps as my universal default.

  • warpdrive

    I concur…… 1,000,000%

  • LouisDC

    The only reason why I’m still using Apple maps is because it’s the only map app working with CarPlay. Almost everytime I used Apple maps to get somewhere I ran into problems: wrong turn information, closed or non-existing roads, incorrect road/area names, …

  • poopchute

    I live in Burlington, and I also find Apple maps to be better in the Golden Horseshoe area.

  • FragilityG4

    I drove through Burlington last weekend on my way with my family to Great Wolf Lodge… no problems with Apple Maps!

  • Riddlemethis

    Apple should simply concede defeat and sever their relationship with TomTom. It’s time for Apple Maps to go.