Apple Maps in the City

Apple Maps continues to suffer from its false start. iOS users download alternatives like Google Maps and Waze to fulfill their navigation needs. Yet, if you look at the three products, they each have a competitive advantage. Nothing can touch Waze when it comes to beating traffic. Google is the king of business, shops, and places. Apple Maps brings beauty in design, along with the tight integration between phone and Watch. While I normally use these mapping services for driving, I thought I’d have a great time using Apple Maps for walking navigation in Chicago last week. I was very wrong.

The problem with Apple Maps wasn’t really a problem with Apple Maps, it was GPS. The high buildings interfered all of the time, to the point where I couldn’t rely on the directions tapping me on my watch. At times, Apple Maps had me a block and a half away from my actual location, and was far too slow to update my position.

I wonder if 5G will fix this problem. Not that 5G will improve inner-city GPS woes, but because the individual 5G tower will be able to relay that location information to apps. If there are 25 5G towers (or spots, or whatever they’re going to call them), along my route, conceivably each of those towers could hand off my location to my mapping app as I moved along my route.

This experience gave me a real appreciation for cities as they build their emergency services and communications networks. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to coordinate and dispatch emergency services to the right location in an efficient manner.

Location data within a city is a problem for a lot of people. Hopefully we’ll get a fix soon enough.

© 2019 Chet J. Collins