In 2009, Apple began purchasing mapping companies, including Placebase, Poly9, and C3 Technologies, all of which offer different mapping technologies, including 3-D.
Those purchases have been combined into an all new Maps application that is set to debut in iOS 6, officially replacing Google Maps as Apple’s mapping solution.
The new Maps application, which was announced at today’s keynote on the first day of the 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference, has been built by Apple from the ground up.
Apple’s new mapping application looks downright amazing, with a local search that shows more than 100 million business listings and an integrated traffic service.
The local search also incorporates Yelp reviews and ratings for an instant look at what’s nearby, and the traffic search will show exactly where congestion and accidents occur.
Apple’s traffic information uses anonymous real-time crowdsourced data from iOS users, so it’s always up-to-date and relevant, wherever you are.
Apple’s major mapping announcement turned out to be turn-by-turn navigation, which is going to be a part of iOS 6. Previously, you could look up directions using Google Maps, but now your phone will be able to tell you exactly where to go, just like a GPS unit.
According to the keynote, turn-by-turn navigation is super easy to use. Search for a place, tap on quick route, and you’re ready to head off. As you go, the app will monitor traffic, keep you up to date with an ETA, and offer you the fastest route available.
All of these mapping features are accessible right from the lock screen, so you don’t even have to unlock your phone to use the map.
For iPhone 4S users, Siri has been integrated with the Maps application. You can ask Siri for directions to any locale. If you’re driving and you ask Siri to find the nearest gas station or rest stop, she can direct you there with no problems.
Finally, there’s an all new “Flyover” feature, which offers satellite-based 3-D models on the iPhone and the iPad. You can search by location (the one used in Apple’s demo was the Transamerica Pyramid) and then get a rotating 3-D model of the structure.
You can rotate and fly around using the iDevice’s touchscreen, and you can even simulate driving a route in a car. An overview button will show you a birds eye view of the whole route, and you’ll be able to pan around and zoom in and out. It’s essentially a fantastic way to get your bearings.
Developers are able to download iOS 6 today, but the rest of us will need to wait until the fall for the release of iOS 6. The software is expected to be available sometime in September.