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Apple maps see Incremental Improvements

It looks like Tim Cook is making good on his word to improve Apple Maps… though it’ll be a while before it’s up to the company’s usual high standards.

Mac Rumors notes that people trying to find their way using Apple’s navigation software are seeing some improvements in the service. The Statue of Liberty is no longer flattened, for one.

Improvements have been ongoing, but visitors to the Mac Rumors forum have noticed a greater swathe of corrections of late. Mostly they concern the slightly dodgy 3D rendering that left bridges looking like smears on the screen. Flyover imagery has made its debut in Honolulu, Hawaii, and in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. And new 3D buildings are appearing in London as well as New York, too. Good news for us Brits.

But even though Apple is obviously working hard to improve Maps, not everyone can see the tweaks. This is because of how Apple Maps caches data. It uses vector graphics too, so doesn’t have to download new map images every time you adjust the view. Seeing as it pulls its info from the cloud, Apple can make improvements without having to issue a whole new software release. Which is a good thing, seeing as there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Tim Cook apologised for Apple Maps’ awfulness last week, and promised to improve the service. The company has reportedly roped in staff from its Apple Stores to lend a hand, suggesting improvements and reporting errors. In the meantime, Cook recommended disgruntled iPhone 5 owners try Bing, the Google Maps web app (which has just added Street View), or Nokia Maps.

The next day in the App Store, up popped some mapping recommendations for your iPad too. So Apple really is eating a big slice of humble pie over this one.

Have you stuck with Apple Maps? What’s been your experience?

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