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Apple, Google: Battle of the Cloud Maps

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the what-about-open-street-maps? dept.

Google 179

Nerval's Lobster writes "Google has sent invitations for a June 6 event in which it will apparently unveil 'The Next Dimension of Google Maps.' Meanwhile, rumor suggests Apple is preparing its own mapping service for iOS devices. The escalating battle over maps demonstrates the importance of cloud apps to tech companies' larger strategies." I only wish my phone would hold by default the X-million data points that my outmoded (but cheap and functional) dedicated GPS device does, without quite so much cloud-centric bottlenecking, and leave all expensive data use for optional overlays and current conditions.

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179 comments

I SEE A HORSIE IN THE SKY MUMMY !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40190563)

And then the Earth shook violently, and it was here, 2012. Good-bye, sweet world, good-bye !!

I do't see Google and Apple being the only players (1, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#40191501)

Maybe Google and Apple being the most visible players in the cloud competition, but I do not think they will be the only major players

Other firm that have already enter the fray, or will enter in a big way are firms that already have an online presence, such as Amazon or Facebook, or firms that have traditionally offer corporate services, such as IBM, or firms such as Microsoft; Major ISPs and Telcos may also want to branch out in this field

Even major datacenter operators may see cloud computing as an extension to their existing businesses

In fact, Digitimes reported that NTT, a Japanese Telco, has placed an order of 100,000 cloud computing servers to Quanta Computer of Taiwan

URL is at http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20120529PB200.html [digitimes.com] [paywall, sorry]

Re:I do't see Google and Apple being the only play (3, Funny)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#40192383)

[http://www.digitimes.com] [paywall, sorry]

Wait... People actually pay to read the BS Apple rumors that digitimes is constantly reporting?

What are you talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40190611)

they already did http://maps.google.com/?t=8 [google.com]

Re:What are you talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40190983)

And why we suddenly call every web service as cloud?

Re:What are you talking about (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191127)

And why we suddenly call every file server as web service?

Google Maps Gripes (3, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#40190653)

I just wish that Google would learn some lessons about 2D cartography. Like how to mark toll roads and stuff.

It's kind of frustrating because Google maps is really good at local stuff (zoom in to see individual business names and stuff, and of course street view) but other services are a lot better once you're looking at a range beyond a few blocks.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about 2 years ago | (#40190701)

Err, what? The turn by turn directions will tell you what section are tolls and even allows you to avoid toll roads. This even works with google maps mobile. The two features I wish GMM had are cache along route (caching the tileset around a specific point is a start but it needs to be able to do it along an entire route). and route override (ie drag and drop route placement, sometimes I know a certain part of a route won't work and the only way to do this with GMM is to pre-plan the route on the PC and save it).

Re:Google Maps Gripes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40190779)

What is GMM? Google maps has a route override, i.e. drag and drop route placement.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#40191431)

Google Maps Mobile. It lacks the route override option of the PC application and waypoints.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40191863)

I've been using it since its release, and I never realized that.
I wonder is it's on the tablet?

Re:Google Maps Gripes (4, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#40190821)

I'm not talking about the turn-by-turn directions, I'm talking about the maps. Quick, where are the toll roads [wisc.edu] ? How 'bout now [wisc.edu] ? Or now [wisc.edu] ?

I guess if you just enter in a start and end into Google maps and blindly follow whatever comes out it works fine, but if you want to scan around for alternate routes (hint: Google doesn't pick the best route for going through Chicago from east-to-west or vice versa) or just want to look around at maps, that's not good enough.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

arose (644256) | about 2 years ago | (#40190895)

Lacking a legend I can honestly say that it's not clear in any of the cases what is what.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#40191007)

OK, fair point, and looking around the fact that both Bing and Mapquest seem to lack official legends anywhere from what I can tell is a significant strike against (though not more than Google, which also apparently lacks one).

However, I can tell you with high confidence that in those two maps the green roads are toll roads. They correspond both in Chicago and in other areas I'm somewhat familiar with to what I know to be true regarding what's a toll road, Furthermore, green for "toll road" is a pretty standard notation for road atlases. It never even occurred to me to look for a legend.

some times GPS send trucks down tail of dragon or (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191363)

some times GPS send trucks down the tail of dragon (looks like a quick route but is very or other times on to non truck roads.

you can look at a map see the shortest route. Of course the curves don't show-up on highway maps so here they come.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (2)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | about 2 years ago | (#40191107)

So you route around tolls?
Interesting. I don't worry about it. One solitary trip down a tollroad isn't going to bankrupt me, and if I do it repeatedly (like a daily commute) then I learn to avoid that road. Of course oftentimes the tollroad is the cheapest route..... I recall a friend of mine was trying to avoid the Baltimore Tunnel Toll drove *all the way around* the city on 695 beltway.

He probably spent more on gas then if he'd just paid the $1 toll. --- As I became more familiar with the city, I later learned you can avoid the toll by following the Baltimore-Washington Parkway straight through the city (but then you also add half an hour to your cross-city travel time, so again: Not worth it. I'd rather just pay the toll.)

Re:Google Maps Gripes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191165)

The ones around here make up for the inconvenience of the toll by having a higher speed limit. Some are all the way up to 80 mph with the nearby interstate highways that are not tolled having speed limits of 65. Of course, there is not much benefit to that because people regularly do 70-75 on the regular road and 90 on the toll road. I'll stick to the saner speed limit, thank you very much.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (2)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#40191197)

I do look, though I'll admit that it usually doesn't pan out in terms of being worth it.

For instance, taking the Chicago case, if you're traveling west-to-east from Rockford (or, as is probably clear from the urls I linked, Madison) to points East, if I-88 wasn't a toll road it'd probably be worth it to use that route. It's a bit longer, but you'd save several dollars on tolls and it's a bit better driving than I-90 is.

Or once I asked for advice on how late it's reasonable to hit Chicago before afternoon rush hour, and someone suggested avoiding it completely if your destination is in the right place. From my experimentation the "right place" isn't a very big area, but there are places where mapping software will send you through Chicago and across on the IL, IN, OH, and PA turnpikes when you can take an entirely different route and avoid all of those. Richmond is an example: Rockford to Richmond is 13:02 by Bing's estimate (just what I happened to have left up from before) via the route I just mentioned, or 13:47 if you take 39 all the way south to Bloomington then 74 to Indianapolis etc., taking a far more southery route. For that extra 45 minutes (or really, probably less), you avoid something like $25 or $30 in tolls.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (3, Informative)

Excelsior (164338) | about 2 years ago | (#40190845)

Caching the route does work. At least it does on every Android phone I've owned. When you drive through parts of the southwest United States, you often travel for hundreds of miles with no cell coverage at all. Google Maps keeps chugging along, as long as I don't end navigation on my current route.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40190951)

Good, but Google Map is useless in Europe where we pay hillarious roaming charges whenever we leave our own country. It will be a toy gps only until I can download all of Europe on my phone and then travel offline on my holiday.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (3, Insightful)

shellbeach (610559) | about 2 years ago | (#40192011)

You can already precache a 10km square area around any point (saved permanently) plus cache 150 Mb of rolling data. That's been good enough for me to travel everywhere I've wanted so far (including a five month backpacking trip last year).

Yes, it would be great to have continent maps available for download, but the current options are a lot better than nothing.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 2 years ago | (#40192165)

While Google Maps can't do this, there are apps out there that DO allow you to do this (at least for iOS, I'm sure there would be on Android too). Two off the top of my head I can think of:

Expensive: The TomTom app (basically turns your phone into something almost identical to the actual stand-alone TomTom units, including the fact that the maps are stored locally)

Cheap: MotionXGPS: allows you to download and store locally mapping/sat data for any arbitrary area you want, sourced from either Bing, OpenStreetMap and various other sources (e.g. terrain maps for hiking, marine maps for sailing etc.)

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#40190967)

Google Maps keeps chugging along, as long as I don't end navigation on my current route.

That's still retarded. It's like when you turn off the stereo it burns all your CDs.

Is there no way to permanently (at least until you make a positive decision to remove it) store the data locally?

Re:Google Maps Gripes (2, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40191141)

That's still retarded. It's like when you turn off the stereo it burns all your CDs.

I think Sony has something like that in the works right now....

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about 2 years ago | (#40191231)

I wish. Haven't seen that option since the days of Street Atlas with the DeLorme GPS package connected to a laptop...

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#40191327)

As has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, you can do it with Ovi maps on Nokias. I have maps for a few states loaded.

It's not perfect, at least with the version of Ovi maps I have on my phone -- it still tries to connect to a network so you have to keep telling it no, and it doesn't seem like you can search for locations or ask for directions offline. But you [i]can[/i] look around the map, and it can follow your current location using GPS.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#40191417)

>> But you [i]can[/i] look around the map

Hah, too much time at other forums I guess.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#40191737)

As has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, you can do it with Ovi maps on Nokias

Sure.

But what's that got to do with Google making a retarded design decision? It's certainly not very relevant to those who don't have Nokia phones.

As it happens I have a Nokia E71 with Ovi maps. I don't find it particularly brilliant, though I suppose I can't complain given that it was free.

Still, I don't know why it took them a year to port it from the E72 which is basically the same phone. Trying to push people to upgrade?

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40191931)

Just because you don't understand it doesn't make it retarded.

It's always updated, you're download is in small pieces. Some GPS updates will take a GIg of downloads, and the auto ones can hit at anytime.

" I don't know why it took them a year to port it from the E72 "
because there developers also have other things to do?

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 years ago | (#40191463)

Google Maps keeps chugging along, as long as I don't end navigation on my current route.

That's still retarded. It's like when you turn off the stereo it burns all your CDs.

Is there no way to permanently (at least until you make a positive decision to remove it) store the data locally?

Not along a route, but you can cache any number of 10 mile-side squares (up to storage limits -- and most phones have a lot of storage). Go into Settings, then Labs, then enable the pre-cache feature. Then long-tap on the centerpoint of the area you want to pre-cache. Tap the bubble that pops up, and then tap "pre-cache" at the bottom of the dialog. It'll take a minute to download that square, but then you'll have cached map data (map only; no satellite, etc.)

Offline - Use Sygic (1)

ami.one (897193) | about 2 years ago | (#40191771)

I have found sygic is much better for offline use. Just download around 1-2 GB per country and you don't need any data connection. and it renders much faster and with 3D view its easier to make out things

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 2 years ago | (#40191161)

you mean google maps isn't even good for driving? i'm in nyc, and only the major streets are labeled unless you zoom in to near-uselessness. even if the gps can't figure out that i'm moving at 2mph, you'd think they'd have and default to a pedestrian-mode in manhattan.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 2 years ago | (#40191305)

I can't speak to how it is when being used as a car GPS replacement; I'm too cheap for a data plan and so I plan my routes in advance and then execute them. I also keep an actual atlas in my car and can (and like to, obviously :-)) read maps.

When used like that, it's competent. The directions it comes up with are usually reasonable, though I think it should do a better job at routing around city centers. (Like my continual Chicago example: from Rockford to South Bend it will send you on I-90 all the way, but in my experience it's far better to go around via 290 and 294.)

It's just not as good as some of the other sites for just looking around the map at a large scale. Some of that is missing features, some of that is personal preference in terms of aesthetics, and some of that is a mixture of both. Printed atlases tend to be even better except for the total lack of zoomability.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

NerdmastaX (1749114) | about 2 years ago | (#40191867)

im a pizza driver, so i use copilot, when copilot cant find it i hope i have a data connection, but google nav is very accurate to the house compared to copilot. kinda messed up that you can fully navigate somewhere and then have no signal to navigate back. oh and pray you dont miss 1 turn while you have no data... it will reroute forever...

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40191943)

Yeah, I wonder how the GPS reception is in downtown NYC.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 2 years ago | (#40191999)

wish i could tell you, but i have nothing to compare it to. in my experience, it's between one and six blocks off, with the median at two.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 2 years ago | (#40192181)

Yyeah, GPS 'reception' is awful in any high-rise city. (I say 'reception', because the reception itself in terms of signal strength is usually fine - the issue is rather that the signal is getting bounced off buildings and thus longer to get to you, which obviously means your position calculated from those signals will be off).

Phone or stand-alone GPS doesn't seem to matter that much ... I get the same problems on my iPhone as I do with my regular car Garmin GPS when I drive into central Sydney. You basically have to ignore it because its telling you things like "in 100 metres, turn left on Blah Street" when you already passed Blah Street a block or two ago.

Re:Google Maps Gripes (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40192525)

Yes, sort of.

Last time I was in Chicago, my Droid (which did do an excellent job of triangulating my location, and was accurate within a couple dozen feet even inside of a hotel as long as there was sufficient visible WiFi) failed miserably at getting me back to Ohio.

But it kept insisting I turn right from Lakeshore Drive where turning right was impossible due to physical barriers, while pretending to know where I was: It thought I was on a parallel road just to the south, and I wasn't.

Meanwhile, my cheap Garmin Nuvi was all too eager to get completely lost in the downtown areas, but at least would inform me of the fact that it had no clue where I was. And it was able to bring me to a road that actually headed east out of town, whereas the Droid completely failed.

It's plain to me that they both have their own strengths and weaknesses. As an out-of-towner, sans both atlas and navigator, it took a combination of both of these devices to get me anywhere.

And that, I shudder to say, was a win. (And if you've ever tried to find a place to simply stop a car en-route to read a map in downtown $bigcity, you'll likely agree.)

That said: The worst GPS-related navigation fault I've ever experienced occured while I was in the flat part of Ohio, in the late evening, with a clear view of the sky. I was in a parking lot and asked my OG Droid for directions. Both amusingly and uselessly, it insisted that I had a northwest heading over Canada at close to Mach 1.

I have a feeling (3, Interesting)

rat7307 (218353) | about 2 years ago | (#40190657)

...it will be a battle in name only.

apple are highly unlikely to put out an API for other to use as they wish like Google did.

While GMaps might take a back-seat on iOS, it will still be by far the most dominant system out there unless Apple allow use outside of the iOSphere.

At the end of the day if it's only available on iOS and Mac then it's essentially on a minority of devices on what is now a minority platform.

Still, it no doubt will have Google scrambling to bring us more cool stuff, so it's win-win all round.

Re:I have a feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40190769)

GMaps is different than Google Maps. You all knew that, right?

Re:I have a feeling (2, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40191049)

At the end of the day if it's only available on iOS and Mac then it's essentially on a minority of devices on what is now a minority platform.

Uh, you're kidding [businessinsider.com] , right? Apple's inventory stock has been compared to restaurants, that must get rid of it because it's perishable. It's ridiculous how competitive Apple is right now against ALL of the Android phone manufacturers. I'm not sure their growth rate will last, but you're just silly to claim the iOS platform is merely a "minority platform." It's not like 2-5% marketshare, like the Mac used to be... they're neck and neck against EVERY OTHER phone manufacturer put together. Mac's marketshare is growing, too, but still under 20% I would guess. I doubt seriously anyone at Microsoft now, or even Google, would share your dismissive views of the "minority" that's ever increasingly eating their marketshare.

Re:I have a feeling (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 years ago | (#40191379)

I think he was including more than just mobile. The clue is that he contrasted Google's offering against "iOS and Mac". So the total market under consideration includes not just phones and tablets but also laptops and desktops. And, clearly, a solution that is available on essentially all platforms (including iOS and OSX) has an advantage over one that's tied to iOS and OSX. Of course, that presumes that Apple won't make their mapping solution available on non-Apple platforms. I don't know if they will or won't, but it's an implicit assumption which should be called out.

Backwards from reality (1, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#40191255)

Apple are highly unlikely to put out an API for other to use as they wish like Google did.

That is 100% wrong.

The strongest reason I see for Apple to replace Google with their own mapping solution is in fact to give iOS developers an API they can "use as they wish".

The current Google Maps API is rife with restrictions. Have to watch the geocoding load from your app or it will be shut down. Can't overlay turn-by-turn instructions (what? You thought that restriction, meant to drive you to back to Google Maps, came from Apple?)

Apple having their own mapping system means NO restrictions on developers, or at least ones directly related to load only and not the protection of Google revenue streams...

At the end of the day if it's only available on iOS and Mac then it's essentially on a minority of devices on what is now a minority platform.

There are still more iOS devices than Android devices overall.

Especially in the U.S. Here's a conundrum for you. Sprint & AT&T and Verizon have all said the iPhone is leading smartphone sales, usually by a good margin.

So how exactly would Android have more units sold in the U.S. if that continues to be true?

Re:Backwards from reality (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#40191465)

You and the poster above you miss the point. Google Map is not only usable from Android devices. It is usable from any desktop out there, and iOS device and any other operational system of any Internet able device mobile or not that I am aware of. Apple can't compete with that with a service restricted only to their OS as it is usually its practice when developing anything. That is what the parent poster means.

Re:Backwards from reality (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#40191543)

Google Map is not only usable from Android devices. It is usable from any desktop out there

And Apple can not deliver a desktop map because....

I understand what you mean about scope of use, but in the end it doesn't matter what the scope is, if enough care is put into the mapping solution. Even if they don't deliver a desktop version of the mapping service.

Re:Backwards from reality (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#40191619)

Apple certainly can deliver a desktop map service, but it is not their policy to open things and release it to non MacOS/iOS systems. Maybe this time they will open an exception, who knows. And I beg to disagree, but scope matters a lot. I spend far more time planning routes and finding places in my desktop than I do in my mobile phone, being able to interchange information between them is mandatory to me, and I bet I am not alone on this.

Re:Backwards from reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191791)

Maybe you missed, iTunes, Safari and the iCloud Photo Stream. They do make stuff for other platforms (Windows) and it would not surprise me if they make the Geo service open via a web interface.

faggot nigger dick in your mom's loose cunt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40190663)

Thank you for using my real name ... asswipe I really hope I find you on the road some asshole .. because he is Douchebag Cunt and run it before you. I do not care who you are, you do not have a piece of shit in the street! You are a loser fucking nigger, you have nothing and have no insurance? Oh, your mom must be proud of you. What needs to be a responsible adult. Well Dick, I'm not going to sit here and throw insults at you, as I still class much more than that.
But let me tell you that you found on the road .. I have to take a mother fucker .. Should I run these streets and ass fucking be. Eat fat hairy cock!

>

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Re:faggot nigger dick in your mom's loose cunt (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40190745)

What the holy hell? Did 4chan just spring a leak?

Nokia (4, Informative)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 2 years ago | (#40190677)

I only wish my phone would hold by default the X-million data points that my outmoded (but cheap and functional) dedicated GPS device does, without quite so much cloud-centric bottlenecking, and leave all expensive data use for optional overlays and current conditions.

You mean like any number of Nokia phones that support the free OVI Maps application?

Re:Nokia (4, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 years ago | (#40190705)

Or any of the non-free but still relatively cheap navigation apps for Android or iPhone, like TomTom or Navigon, to name a few?

Re:Nokia (2)

black3d (1648913) | about 2 years ago | (#40191495)

Navfree is a decent free offline GPS for the iphone. It's another which uses OpenStreetMap so it's not flawless, but personally I've had it find every address I've tried, every time. Avoids toll roads, etc.

Re:Nokia (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#40191693)

I've tried those. They're great as long as you're in the West, I suppose. But my third-tier city in China barely has anything. Unusable, and I say this as someone who desperately wants to ditch Google Maps.

Not all functionality has to be built-in (3, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#40190719)

I only wish my phone would hold by default the X-million data points that my outmoded (but cheap and functional) dedicated GPS device does, without quite so much cloud-centric bottlenecking, and leave all expensive data use for optional overlays and current conditions.

There is an app for that, seriously there are multiple apps for that. Decent maps built-in. More detailed ones, including topo, available via free download.

Not all functionality has to come from Apple, or whoever is doing the OS and built-in apps, some things can be left to third parties.

Re:Not all functionality has to be built-in (2)

Artifex (18308) | about 2 years ago | (#40190827)

There is an app for that, seriously there are multiple apps for that.

Heck, even Google Maps on Android will cache map data (no pictures or traffic). Enable the option in Labs, go back to the area you want to cache and long-press in the middle, then click the option to cache it, and you'll get a 10 mile square around that spot. Yes, you can do multiple squares, too: I did 6 somewhat overlapping squares tonight, and it says they take up 21MB.

Re:Not all functionality has to be built-in (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191027)

I live in an island which is 5km wide and 40km long. Cities and everything else is organized across the 40*1 km range. So the whole cache thing is useless for me.

Re:Not all functionality has to be built-in (2)

swillden (191260) | about 2 years ago | (#40191399)

I live in an island which is 5km wide and 40km long. Cities and everything else is organized across the 40*1 km range. So the whole cache thing is useless for me.

Why is that? You cache two 10-mile (24 km) squares and you have your whole island cached. Plus a great deal of water, but ignore that.

Re:Not all functionality has to be built-in (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#40191489)

No it is not. You need to cache 2 regions around 2 points and you will have the whole island cached.

Re:Not all functionality has to be built-in (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#40191753)

60 square miles = 21 MB
1 GB / 21 MB = 48.76
2,925.6 square miles = 1 GB on Android

I hope the other Apps the GP referred to aren't as wasteful with storage space.
For references: 3,794,083 square miles (the USA w/water) ~= 1GB on my GPS

Re:Not all functionality has to be built-in (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | about 2 years ago | (#40192117)

It's a 10mile 'radius' square. So each square is 20x20 = 400 square miles. 6 of them makes 2,400sqm. Now he said that they overlapped a bit, but then the 21MB includes other cached maps as well, not just the permanent ones, so lets call it even.

3,794,083/2,400 = 1,581, so 33GB.

Then take into account, that GP most likely saved map data in a city (higher density), which the vast majority of the USA is not, and it's likely comparable.

Re:Not all functionality has to be built-in (2)

xded (1046894) | about 2 years ago | (#40191763)

Except that your smartphone with an always-on GPS-tracking app, recording a data point every 5 feet, will last at most 2 hours on a full battery.

My Garmin handheld doing just that, with a better precision, will last 15 hours on a couple of AA batteries. And when they're over, I can just swap another pair in. And I can use it under the rain. With the gloves on.

Re:Not all functionality has to be built-in (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#40191827)

I only wish my phone would hold by default the X-million data points that my outmoded (but cheap and functional) dedicated GPS device does, without quite so much cloud-centric bottlenecking, and leave all expensive data use for optional overlays and current conditions.

What's wrong with his phone? Does he have an iPhone?

My Android phone allows me to cache as much google maps tiles as I want for off-line navigation. It's just one of the google labs option that needs to be enabled from the google maps application, that's all. As to the data points themselves, I save every address I run across into my address book, that way it comes up automatically as an auto-complete item when I enter a destination.

But even then, I am glad I'm no longer using my standalone gps unit for its data, its data points were several years out of date. And it was frustrating going to a gas station that no longer existed, or seeing new neighborhoods that were not even listed in its database yet.

Offine maps are Open Street Map (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40190731)

If you don't want to have the cloud centric bottleneck check out the mobile versions of Open Street Map, downloading a whole country of vector maps is reasonable. I use OSMand, it was handy on my trip to Japan.

Google Colon View (-1, Offtopic)

theodp (442580) | about 2 years ago | (#40190831)

Google Colon View [staticflickr.com] : Google Research has developed a self-propelled capsule endoscope that can be inserted into the anus and driven through the colon via remote control and a magnetic field, capturing images along the way.

Caching (3, Interesting)

LoudMusic (199347) | about 2 years ago | (#40190835)

I only wish my phone would hold by default the X-million data points that my outmoded (but cheap and functional) dedicated GPS device does, without quite so much cloud-centric bottlenecking, and leave all expensive data use for optional overlays and current conditions.

No shit dude. I have a fucking 32GB phone of which I'm using about 3GB. The thing I use more than anything is Google Maps. If it's downloaded something, why does it ever delete it? I can cache apparently unlimited 10 mile squares (100 square miles?), but I can't say "Just fucking download the entire state of Iowa" (because, really, who would want to?).

But I suppose they're getting there. Slowly.

Don't you get it? (3, Insightful)

flatulus (260854) | about 2 years ago | (#40190999)

The reason they don't make it easy to download an entire map has nothing to do with storage or bandwidth. It has to do with *tracking*.

Location Based Services -- Since we know where you are, we can suggest you turn right and have a pizza at the restaurant that pays us to steer customers their way. etc... etc... etc...

Google has a talent for fooling people into thinking that they are offering all these great FREE services out of the goodness of their corporate heart. On the contrary, those services are very profitable, and the way they accomplish all that money making is by knowing a WHOLE HELL OF A LOT about YOU.

Anyway, it's up to you folks. But don't bitch about not getting the whole free map thing - now that you understand why it is not in Google's or Apple's or Microsoft's (or fill-in-the-blank-megacorp-giving-away-services) to provide them.

That's my $37.00 worth (I'm old and that's about what 2 cents used to be worth when I was a wee one)

Re:Don't you get it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191073)

If that is the answer then they only thought it half-way through. Have it cache all the data it can. Then, when someone asks for directions or the like, it asks if the cached data is still good or not. The streets will most likely not change that often, so the street grid won't change that often. All together, this makes it so it looks snappier, saves you and them data transfer costs and they still get to track you.

Re:Don't you get it? (1)

game kid (805301) | about 2 years ago | (#40191245)

That and the whole Don't Copy That Floppy(tm) thing. Someone with a big chunk of Google Maps=another website with a big chunk of Google Maps and its associated third-party imagery=(mad Google lawyers)+(higher license fees for Google to procure the imagery)=(mad Google lawyers)+(less Google shareholders thanks to lower "Profit!").

Or something like that.

Re:Don't you get it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191499)

That's my $37.00 worth (I'm old and that's about what 2 cents used to be worth when I was a wee one)

Or about 1 Facebook shar... Oh wait, that's not quite right is it.

Re:Don't you get it? (1)

Crash24 (808326) | about 2 years ago | (#40191773)

Caching and tracking aren't mutually exclusive. If anything, better caching will reduce Google's server/bandwidth load. Which, incidentally, frees up more resources to do important stuff like tracking you.

Re:Caching (2)

thaig (415462) | about 2 years ago | (#40191653)

You could get one of those appalling non-smartphones with that terrible OS Symbian on it and use their downloadable maps which offer both caching and the ability to pre-download maps for any country and have offered this for years.

Re:Caching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191775)

You can download sections of the map using a Google Labs function in Google Maps. At least om Android. I think you still need to be online to calculate a new route.

Re:Caching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191995)

Umm.. http://www.navigon.com/portal/int/produkte/navigationssoftware/index.html

How hard was that?

Want offline maps? (2)

arose (644256) | about 2 years ago | (#40190867)

Get an Android phone. Get OSMand [osmand.net] . News for posers who won't lift a finger? Stuff that has been solved for you if you just look?

Re:Want offline maps? (1)

silanea (1241518) | about 2 years ago | (#40192045)

It is not that simple, I am afraid. I love Osmand, but it still has a long way to go. Searching for street names in cities that have been divided into districts - there are numerous examples in Germany (try Munich) and apparently Russia - is broken, offline routing fails more than it works. I enjoy the map display, and with an online routing service it is quite useful, but as a purely offline solution Osmand is not ready yet.

The underlying map data is key (2)

darrylo (97569) | about 2 years ago | (#40191139)

Regardless of any really cool/geeky features, the underlying map data can make or break the app. Google doesn't have a problem because, well, they're using the google maps data, which is pretty decent.

On the other hand, Apple has a challenge: what maps data source do they use? Since Apple seems to be trying to avoid Google, I'm assuming that the google maps data is out. I really hope that Apple goes with a major commercial maps data source, and not openstreetmap. If Apple uses openstreetmap, I think Apple's map app is doomed, as I don't think any amount of lipstick is going to make openstreetmap look good.

(OK, don't get me wrong -- I like openstreetmap, and I like the idea of it. However, it's missing 10+-year-old roads in my area. For the people who just started frothing at the mouth and want to scream at me to say that I can edit the maps, you're missing the point. The point is not that I can go in and fix the map data. The point is that, statistically speaking, if some of the map data is inaccurate in my area, it's likely inaccurate in many other places, and this raises severe reliability/trustability issues with me. Like it or not, the google maps data is a lot more accurate than openstreetmap, and thus is a lot more trustable.)

Re:The underlying map data is key (0)

Tester (591) | about 2 years ago | (#40191193)

Google didn't make their own maps, neither did Microsoft or Nokia or Garmin or Tomtom. They all buy their maps (the raw data) from a small numbers of companies like Maptech or Teleatlas who do all the hard work. Apple can buy their maps from the same place... The real challenge for Apple to make their own maps application is that they don't have Google search to find stuff on it.

Re:The underlying map data is key (1)

darrylo (97569) | about 2 years ago | (#40191213)

That certainly used to be true -- there used to be appropriate copyright notices at the bottom of the map. However, if you look at google maps now, the only copyright there is Google's. That implies that Google owns the map data that it uses.

I'd love to be wrong, though. :)

Re:The underlying map data is key (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191257)

Um, Nokia makes and owns all their maps. They bought Navteq years ago. Microsoft and Yahoo use Nokia maps as their backend.

Re:The underlying map data is key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191873)

You get map data free of charge from gov't entities, at least up here in Canada. There are roads maps that map everything, down to every freaking driveway. But it is raw data (vector map). There are other maps that have all topography and elevation, but again, raw stuff. Then you can put the A and B together and get yourself a nice looking map.

Heck, you can just download elevation maps of the world straight from NASA or USGS.

Data is there, if you can find it and compile it. Or you can just buy it from someone that already compiled it.

fix the accuracy first (3, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40191187)

Google is usually psycho-perfectionist about how their products perform. They still don't quite know where my business is and it's been there for 62 years. The "correction" we submitted now resulted in us being listed 3 times, once at the correct spot, all under slightly different names. I've had it claim it found something and my GPS disagrees and brings me to the correct spot several times as well. That's pretty major as far as problems go and they just can't seem to fix it. I'd focus on that more than anything if I were them.

Agree .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191561)

Except for the part about Google being psycho-perfectionist. If anything, they are the release even if it is crap kind of company.

Everything Google release is pre-beta quality. To this day, they haven't release a product that is not buggy as hell. It usually takes between 5 to 10 updates to actually get the product in a usable state.

End of the monopoly (1)

LifeIs0x2A (2615925) | about 2 years ago | (#40191239)

Powerful competition for Google maps will give them pressure to improve their service (the same for their competitor). That's definitely a good thing for the customer. Also the more people there are developing maps services the greater is the probability that a minimalistic version as mentioned by the original post will become available.

Re:End of the monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40191467)

oh you must mean mapquest

Just you wait.. (1)

LifeIs0x2A (2615925) | about 2 years ago | (#40191285)

for Facebook Maps (only available on Facebook phones though)!!!
Because we think it's just so much better if you can look at a map together with your friends.

Cheers,
Mark

Map pricing (1)

lewko (195646) | about 2 years ago | (#40191411)

In Australia, a set of new maps for most consumer GPS units is more than the cost of a (cheap) new unit. If you have a dash-mounted system, forget it.

I don't know if that's a global issue or the 'Australia tax', but I'll support any system which is up to date and doesn't cost me a stupid amount of money to remain current.

Re:Map pricing (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 2 years ago | (#40192227)

Huh? This varies by brand/model. Most TomTom units have free map updates. Garmin ones are $99, though you can buy a lifetime map updates package for not much more than this. Etc.

Also, at least for Garmin (which I am most familiar with), map updates are managed through their website and appear to cost the same for users worldwide, so no issue of 'Australia tax' there.

What expensive data use? (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#40191991)

As someone who almost daily uses Google Navigation on my phone and who has a 200MB data plan ... what expensive data use are we talking about?

Also is it really necessary for someone to publish their opinion in the Slashdot summary after quoting and linking to a Slashdot opinion piece?

Google Mapping (1)

andy_spoo (2653245) | about 2 years ago | (#40192075)

The amount of money these companies must spend on giving free mapping apps amazes me. If Microsoft had been the only player, we'd be paying mega-bucks for it. But I'm frustrated with the navigation app on my Android phone. The round-about icon always shows the same icon, i.e. turning right, unlike a Tomtom where the icon shows the direction of exit. And the arrows on the motorways are only a few shades of blue different from the motorway it's self, sometimes making it really difficult to see. Plus having a GPS connection and Data connection at the same time really sucks the battery dry really fast (the phones get really HOT when running these apps).

Offline POI (5, Interesting)

peterburkimsher (1850056) | about 2 years ago | (#40192087)

As a contract job for Galileo (the main offline map for iOS, http://galileo-app.com/ [galileo-app.com] I wrote a parser for the OpenStreetMap data. Those "X-million data points" fill 800 MB in txt.bz2 format, or 8 GB in plain text. That's why they're not provided by default. Anybody interested in parsing the 25 GB OSM planet database can contact me; I'd be happy to help. There are a few awk scripts I wrote that made it quite straightforward, and fast. You can then use BashServer (Cydia) and lighttpd on the phone, with bookmarks added to your home screen, to make an "app". The icon loads a local webpage (127.0.0.1/Scripts/poi.html), which runs Javascript to give a dialog "Enter search terms". Clicking OK triggers BashServer to run the associated shell script to generate a KML with the search results. The script then opens tells iFile to open the KML, which gives a popup asking which application to open it with. Choosing Galileo launches the "Import KML" feature, and your search results are in your offline map! Simple as that ;-).
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