Unaffiliated with Apple, Inc.

New Apple Maps Data Providers in iOS8 New Apple Maps Data Providers in iOS8

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Apple, Inc. Cupertino

With the launch of iOS8, Apple has finally updated its list of data suppliers on its “attribution” page:

2014 Apple Maps Attributions Page

2013 Apple Maps Attribution Page

None of the previously listed vendors have been removed so presumably their data is still part of Apple Maps. Three new vendors have been added:

Hexagon
“A leading provider of design, measurement and visualizations technologies.” I am presuming they are providing some whiz-bang new stuff in the updated Apple Maps.

Kingwaytek Technology Co., Ltd.
“The only map provider in Taiwan that concentrates on producing digital maps at present.” I am guessing Apple Maps Taiwan just got a lot better. If you need to fix a Taiwanese listing, I am thinking this is where to look.

http://data.linz.govt.nz
The Kingwaytek of New Zealand.

So no new sources of U.S., European or South American data. There are still a lot of countries that don’t have business listings.

I am still puzzled over the old copyright dates for Acxiom (2012), Factual (2012), Localeze (2012), Yelp (2013) and Open Street Map (2011, 2012). It’s unclear if this means that this data is basically frozen in time, meaning no need to update these sources to get your data updated in Apple Maps, or if Apple just didn’t care enough to update the info. It is September 2014 after all and we’re just getting the 2014 update.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Business On Apple Maps? Got A Year? How Long Does It Take To Get A Business On Apple Maps? Got A Year?

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rip-van-winkle apple maps

Image appropriated from StoryNory.com

On September 25th, 2013 I was contacted by the owner of DC 9 Nightclub about getting the business listed on Apple Maps. After doing a quick review, it seemed like a fairly straightforward issue. DC 9 was not listed in a number of the key business data suppliers to Apple Maps like Neustar Localeze and Acxiom and their business name and phone number was incorrect on Factual. Within 24 hours we had fixed all of these problems and reported the missing listing to Apple Maps via its “Report a Problem” feature. And that’s when we found that when it comes to Apple Maps, nothing is ever straightforward…

Often when we fix Apple Maps issues we can see it take effect relatively quickly (60-90 days is what I usually tell clients but we’ve seen faster, and slower of course). But after 60 days the business still wasn’t listed and the Factual data had not updated. I figured this was the issue. Because of the way Factual works, it wasn’t enough to update the data at Factual (where I have a “power” account), we had to fix citations that Factual relies on to triangulate the data. So we did a citation clean-up which took about three months for Factual to acknowledge and update. But still DC 9 was nowhere to be found on Apple Maps.

It was then I realized that I had neglected to take into account the “geo-spatial data”, or whatever the map geeks call it, that Apple uses to create the maps. This data is stuff like streets and buildings and lat/longs, etc. that businesses get mapped to. So I popped DC 9′s address into TomTom/Tele Atlas, one of the underlying mapping data providers, and lo and behold, DC 9′s address of 1940 9th St NW Washington, DC 20001 did not exist in these systems. And when you just searched the address in Apple Maps, the pin showed up at 1938 9th St NW, the building next door, which had originally been part of 1940 until the building was split in two, which probably is why these mapping systems couldn’t figure things out. So even though we had fixed the citation issues, there was nowhere to put the business on the map.

So I went over to TomTom and Tele Atlas‘ sites and submitted edits to their maps to add the address. Within one week the edits had been approved and then I waited…til yesterday.

Last night (September 10th, 2014) I got an email from DC 9′s owner, who had long given up hope, that DC 9 was now on Apple Maps!

DC Nine Apple Maps

Now we just need to figure out what to do about that duplicate listing :P

So if you are trying to add your business to Apple Maps, make sure you’ve got at least five months of patience, but be prepared to wait a year.

For further reading on Tele Atlas and Apple Maps, check out Mike Blumenthal’s Good News, Bad News in the Apple Mapping Business Listing World.

Apple Maps Overtakes Google Maps On a U.K. Carrier Apple Maps Overtakes Google Maps On a U.K. Carrier

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From the recently released 4GEE Mobile Living Index which analyzes mobile data use and 4G trends on the EE Network (a British carrier) in the U.K. since 2013:

Mobile mapping

Traffic on the new Apple Maps now represents 70% of mapping traffic on the 4G network, from 60% in the second half of 2013, taking market share from Google maps, which is down 7ppts. This difference is even more marked over 3G where Apple Maps is up 19ppts and Google Maps is down 15ppts.

EE may push iPhones over Androids so this doesn’t necessarily mean this data applies to all carriers across the board, but every day Apple Maps is getting better and every day thousands of people get a new phone with Apple Maps pre-installed. Apple Maps is for real. You might want to pay attention to it.

Apple Maps’ (Lack of) Acknowledgements Apple Maps’ (Lack of) Acknowledgements

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Apple Maps Attention To Detail

Greg Sterling posted today about Apple Maps’ “new” expanded list of data providers which you can find at http://gspa21.ls.apple.com/html/attribution.html. Unbeknownst to Greg is that this list was updated sometime around the launch of iOS7 in the latter part of 2013. Here’s a November 2013 snapshot from the Web Archive.

It’s not surprising that Greg was not aware of this. It’s an obscure page after all that only the few geeks interested in Apple Maps pay attention to. But what is surprising, as I said in the comments on Greg’s post, is:

  1. The copyright for Open Street Maps data is 2012. This implies that updated OSM data is not being used in Apple Maps. If that is the case, then making edits to OSM should not have any effect on Apple Maps.
  2. Why are we in May of 2014 and still seeing “Copyright 2012-2013″? Where’s the 2014 update? This does not speak well to Apple’s much-vaunted attention to detail and it makes me wonder what’s going on over there. It’s a small thing to be sure, but doesn’t Apple always sweat the details? Perhaps Apple Legal has been too busy suing Samsung to pay attention to this stuff.
     

 

Is Apple Maps Working Directly With Retailers? Is Apple Maps Working Directly With Retailers?

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I heard a rumor recently that a U.S. retail chain has been providing Apple Maps with a spreadsheet of its locations and in exchange has been getting information back from Apple on their business listing data in Apple Maps. I am trying to get this verified (either on or off-the-record). If you have any information about this, please contact me here.

I am not looking to out anyone, just would like more detail about the program, if it indeed exists.

No Business Claiming for Apple Maps for iOS8? No Business Claiming for Apple Maps for iOS8?

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Apple Maps Transit Directions

9to5Mac reports that a major upgrade to Apple Maps is in the works for iOS8, with public transit data being the big feature. The report also mentions that “Apple is also working on unique ways for integrating indoor mapping views and enhanced car integration for future versions of iOS. Sources say that Apple has also begun work on augmented reality functionality that leverages the iPhone’s compass hardware to visually see nearby points of interest.”

These sound like worthwhile consumer-focused applications but they aren’t going to do businesses with screwed-up data or missing locations any good. I wouldn’t have expected Apple to use a leak like this to pre-announce a business claiming feature – consumers wouldn’t care and it would do nothing to get people excited about iOS8, but I hope we are pleasantly surprised by a business claiming feature when the update comes out. It is sorely needed.

Apple Maps May Be Using Phone Verification for Businesses Apple Maps May Be Using Phone Verification for Businesses

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I just saw this in the Apple support forum:

“We have been trying to get our location corrected for over a year. We finally got a call from Apple about 6 months ago and they said they are aware of the wrong address and would have it fixed in a couple of months. It is still incorrect. Our business name is The Orchard. We are a wedding venue and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday we have from 200 to 400 guests trying to find us. “

This is the first I have heard of Apple Maps calling a business to verify the location data. Has anyone else been called by Apple like this?

Sorry Wrong Number Poster

Apple Maps Trusts Yelp More Than Business Listing Aggregators Apple Maps Trusts Yelp More Than Business Listing Aggregators

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TL:DR: FIX YOUR APPLE MAPS DATA ISSUES ON YELP FIRST

Just as Google Local SEO relies on NAP (Name, Address & Phone Number) consistency to help Google understand and rank (or not rank) your business, Apple Maps has its own flavor of NAP inconsistencies gumming up the works. Often businesses whose data is not up to date at all of the business listing aggregators Apple Maps uses, can find their business displayed incorrectly on the Maps or even worse, not displayed at all. These days SEOs are spending a lot of time making sure NAP info is up to date all over the Web, but in the case of Apple Maps, updating your Yelp data may be your best first move. It seems that Apple Maps may trust Yelp’s info more than anyone else’s.

Consider the case of West Kendall Toyota.
Apple Maps lists the business name as “West Kendall Toyota Sales”:

That’s Not The Business’ Name
Nowhere on its site is “West Kendall Toyota Sales” mentioned:

“West Kendall Toyota Sales” is not listed in Apple Maps’ U.S. data aggregators:

  1. Neustar Localeze ain’t got nothing:

    though it has this listing at the same address:
     
  2. Factual = Zippo:

    though it has this listing at the same address:
  3. Axciom – Nada:

    and it has nada for any other listing for this business.

Yelp To The Rescue
The only evidence I can find of a business named “West Kendall Toyota Sales” in Miami, is on Yelp:

In this case, it’s pretty clear that Apple is trusting Yelp’s business name above all other data it has about the business.

So if you are having issues with your data in Apple Maps, make sure your NAP info is up to date on Yelp first. This will be a much quicker fix than doing it via the data aggregators, which you should also do regardless. If anyone has any additional data on this, please share in the comments.

63% of iPhone Owners Use Apple Maps Says Comscore 63% of iPhone Owners Use Apple Maps Says Comscore

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Comscore has just released data on U.S. smartphone market share for the three months ending in September, 2013.  According to my calculations, the report shows that 63% of people with iPhones (or 38 million people) use the Apple Maps app.  Here’s how I got the numbers:

Comscore Smartphone Subscriber Market Share Data September 2013:

Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers 147.9 million
Apple Share of U.S. Smartphone Subscribers 40.6%
Total Apple U.S. Smartphone Subscribers 60 million
% Reach of Apple Maps 25.6%
Total Apple Maps Users 38 million

According to Mike Vorhaus of Magid Advisors, in 2012, 26% of US households (62 million!) had an iPad. Any of the tens of millions of iPads sold over the past year have the Apple Maps app already installed. And Apple’s new OS X Mavericks operating system brought Apple Maps to millions of Apple desktops last month. So suffice to say, Apple Maps’ reach should continue to grow dramatically, particularly after Christmas.

What About Google Maps?

Google Maps v Facebook App

Facebook v Google Maps use in the US in 2012, millions of users. The number of Google Maps users dips in September as iOS 6 is rolled out. Photograph: /PR/ComScore

According to The Guardian, at the same time Google Maps usage has dropped by about 21%, or about 16 million monthly users, over the past year:

“But as iOS 6 began to roll out, and introduced Apple’s maps as the default, the number using Google Maps dropped precipitously, even as the number of iPhones and Android phones began rising. (ComScore does not measure usage on Windows Phone or BlackBerry, which comprise only about 10% of smartphones in use in the US.) By December 2012, even though the base of iPhones and Android phones had grown to 112.9m – up 9.3m – the total number across both platforms using Google Maps on mobile at least once a month had dropped, to 74.4m.

Latest figures from ComScore, published for September 2013, say that the total number of iPhones and Android phones in the US has grown to 136.7m, the number who used the Google Maps app has kept dropping – down to 58.8m – while the number of Apple Maps users stands at 35m out of a total iPhone population of 60.1m.”

The Guardian estimates that Google Maps usage on the iPhone has dropped over the past year by about 29 million monthly users.  Ouch.