How far ahead of Apple Maps is Google Maps?

Long ago, Google Maps had a huge edge over Apple Maps, but Apple Maps made great strides. In many areas, Apple Maps caught up. In my travels (mostly in the eastern US), Apple Maps works well, gets me where I need to go, does a solid job predicting traffic, rerouting me as needed. And the tight integration with my Apple Watch makes a big difference when I’m navigating new territory.

I realize Apple Maps is great in some areas, lacking in others, but this post is about one specific feature, a feature in which Google has a decided edge: Representing property, buildings, and structure outlines on map.

Justin O’Beirne has pulled together an incredibly detailed post showing these differences. As you make your way through the post, you can’t help but see how massive Google’s lead in this particular area has become.

Google has repeatedly told journalists that it started extracting data from Street View imagery in 2008, as part of its “Ground Truth” project. So this suggests that Google may have a 6+ year lead over Apple in data collection.


And as we saw with AOIs [Areas of Interest], 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.

This is not a complaint. For me (and I recognize your mileage may vary here), Apple Maps works quite well. But the arguments and images in Justin’s post are fair proof. Google has a big edge in data collection.

Can Apple catch up? Of course. If they spend the money, make the commitment.

As has been said many times before, data is the new oil.