Apple Patent Shows off a New “Layered” Maps App

Interactive Maps 1How much more interactive can Apple’s Flyover feature get? We may find out sooner than later. A recent publication from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) shows that the iPad maker is working on layering software to make their Maps app more interactive.

According to Apple Insider, the software would allow users to view different layers of content pulled from the Internet over the map. For example, commuting, tourism, and weather could be accessed by dynamically adjusting the view to see the different layers.

The patent, titled “Interactive Map,” refers to the need for a single map app that shows a multitude of nearby (or distant) geographical locations and centralized events. Currently, no map app exists that shows, for example, weather conditions, concert event information, and local restaurants at the same time.

While some apps offer some geographical information, no single map does it all. Apple wants to be the first and is trying to patent the idea.

From the patent:

“To accommodate the large amount of information that can be potentially displayed on an electronic device, some embodiments of the invention provide a map that has an interactive capability that enables a user to dynamically adjust the displayed content. In some embodiments, different viewing modes can be chosen to emphasize map features that are relevant to a particular interest, e.g. commuting, tourism, outdoor recreation, weather, shopping, and the like. Other map features that are not pertinent to that particular interest can be deemphasized, or hidden from view.”

Interactive Maps2The patent refers to the ability to select two or more layers to be viewed simultaneously that can be customized at any time and even shared with others. For example, a user could check the weather conditions in Anaheim over Disneyland and send the customized map to a friend that is flying in for a vacation.

One of the most interesting features of this new, layered software is the ability to create a route by touching two points on a map. Currently, to get directions from one location to another, the user must input an address, or at least a general location (like a city). This layered map would allow the user to simply touch two points on a map to find the most efficient route from one location to the other.

While Apple is continuing to work on creating a more useful version of its Maps app, Google still has the lead in iOS use with its map app. Thanks to the debacle in 2012 with the launch of the native Maps app, Apple will have a very difficult time gaining loyal customers ever again.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik