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Apple’s 3D Maps and Imagery See Incremental Improvements

Following last week’s open letter from Tim Cook in which he promised that Apple “will keep working non-stop” until the iOS 6 Maps app meets customers’ standards for quality, Apple has indeed been making improvements to the service. While there is certainly a ways to go, it is clear that the company is indeed moving quickly to address issues and improve coverage for the flagship 3D mapping and imagery features in the app.

While improvements have been ongoing, MacRumors forum members yesterday began noticing what appears to be a larger set of additions to the 3D content in the Maps app, including both the satellite/aerial imagery and the standard maps. One region that was among the first to be noticed was the New York City area, with a number of improvements including new 3D imagery of the Statue of Liberty being seen.


Old (left) and new (right) Flyover images of the Statue of Liberty

We’ve also heard from users who have experienced new Flyover imagery showing up in Honolulu, Hawaii and in the San Fernando Valley in the Los Angeles area. The changes are also affecting the standard vector-based maps as well, with users reporting new 3D buildings showing up in New York City and London.

Interestingly, not all users are seeing the new imagery, with some even doing side-by-side comparisons between devices with different results. The difference is presumably due to aggressive caching of maps and imagery, and users who are not yet seeing the new imagery should see updates in the relatively near future.