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Apple said to have no quick fix for Maps dilemma

October 1st, 2012 at 8:20 AM

There’s a reason why Google (GOOG) employs more than 7,000 people to work on its Maps application: Because making a top-notch maps app is extremely difficult and requires a lot of investment, manpower and time. Technology Review has talked with several mapping experts to get a sense of just how long it will take for Apple (AAPL) to produce a maps app on par with Google’s and has found that there just isn’t any quick way for Apple to get up to speed.

The big problem, Technology Review says, is that Apple’s current strategy of relying upon users to report mistakes simply cannot match the scale of the problems seen within the application. In particular, the publication notes that “the millions of errant labels on points of interest like businesses… requires new data sources and easier ways to contribute fixes, as well as enough willing map-fixers in geographically dispersed regions.”

And according to Michael Dobson, the president of mapping consultancy TeleMapics, Apple won’t be able to fix all of these issues in a timely fashion unless it’s willing to significantly beef up its mapping staff and to invest in resources such a fleet of cars dedicated solely to mapping.

“Google has found a way to integrate active crowdsourcing on a level that Apple has not yet attempted,” Dobson told Technology Review. “I don’t believe Apple has more than a couple of hundred people working on this at this point… Apple may attempt it, but they certainly don’t have any system that allows this kind of wholesale crowdsourcing.”

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