Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Apple Maps (Finally) Updates Satellite Imagery

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Apple Maps Marketing’s #1 reader, Michael G., just notified me that Apple Maps has made its first satellite imagery update in three years. Here’s Michael’s take:

“Thought you might want to share with your readers that Apple is starting to update their Satellite imagery in select areas. The Satellite imagery is as recent as from just a few months ago. In Florida, the Tampa Bay Area and Orlando have new imagery. This is the first time I have ever seen Apple Maps update its Satellite imagery (not counting Flyover), and I’ve been checking since day one back in 2012. Now that the Satellite imagery is up to date in some areas, this can potentially help business owners who occupy a new building or something that didn’t exist when the old imagery was taken. Now it’s easier for business owners to move their businesses’ pins to the right position. Another thing you might want to share is that if you’re a business owner that owns a business located in an indoor mall, Apple in December of 2014 started to arrange all of a mall’s tenants’ pins to their correct locations in the mall. This is Apple’s first step towards indoor mapping. Some examples of this are attached below. Despite Apple doing this with some malls, there are still many malls that are just as big that Apple has not this for yet. Apple has also started to do this for select airports.”

Apple’s style has always been to launch and then make regular incremental steps towards improvement. The past year, it feels like Apple has put a large number of building blocks in place to push Apple Maps significantly forward. I expect 2016 will be the year when people, including businesses (who are people after all), stop thinking of Apple Maps as a failure and start realizing they, and their customers, are using it…a lot.

DAC Group & Position Technologies Now Feeding Business Listings To Apple Maps

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PositionTech Logo

 

 

 

In November 2014, we discovered that Apple Maps was testing taking business listings feeds from a number of local search technology and marketing companies. Earlier this year we reported that Yext was the only company from the list that was likely able to publish its clients’ business listings data to Apple Maps. Now, thanks to a newly discovered Apple Maps Acknowledgments page, it appears that business listings from both Position Technologies and DAC Group are now making it into Apple Maps.

The page has a “Rev” date of 6/4/2015 but this is the first I have seen of it so I have a feeling the data may have been making into the maps for a few months but that this page was published in June but was part of some update that only got pushed recently.

This doesn’t mean that other companies are not publishing their clients’ listings to Apple Maps. It just means Apple isn’t telling us that they are yet.

Also of interest is Apple is now publishing its sources of transit data which we expect to see in the new version of Apple Maps coming out in iOS 9. Here’s the list:

  • Berlin transit data © 2014-2015 VBB Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH/CC BY 3.0 DE/Adapted for use in Apple Maps/Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr (All information without guarantee).
  • Berlin transit data from Ostseeland Verkehr GmbH/Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr (All information without guarantee).
  • Germany transit data from Flixbus, a European intercity bus service provider: https://www.flixbus.com
  • London transit data © 2015 ITO World Ltd. All rights reserved. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.
  • MTA and the MTA logo are trademarks of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and used with permission of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
  • AirTrain JFK data from 511 NY.
  • Westchester County transit data from 511 NY.
  • Alameda County transit data © 2015 AC Transit/Disclaimer/CCBY 3.0.
  • San Francisco – Bay Area transit data provided by MTC’s 511.org.
  • San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency data reproduced with permission granted by the City and County of San Francisco. The information has been provided by means of a nonexclusive, limited, and revocable license granted by the City and County of San Francisco.
  • Brampton transit data © 2015, The City of Brampton (All rights reserved.) Subject to terms at: http://www.brampton.ca/EN/City-Hall/OpenGov/Open-Data-Catalogue/Pages/Terms-of-Use.aspx.
  • Burlington transit data from the City of Burlington. Subject to terms at: http://www.burlington.ca/en/services-for-you/resources/Initiative Projects/Open_data/TermsOfUse.pdf.
  • Grand River Transit data provided by the Regional Municipality of Waterloo under licence.
  • Guelph Transit data provided by the City of Guelph under an open government license.
  • Hamilton Street Railways public sector data made available under the City of Hamilton’s open data licence.
  • Ontario transit data provided with permission of Metrolinx. Metrolinx makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or currency of the data used herein.
  • MiWay transit data from the City of Mississauga. Subject to terms at: http://www5.mississauga.ca/research_catalogue/CityofMississauga_TermsofUse.pdf.
  • Contains information licensed under the Open Government Licence – Niagara Region http://www.niagararegion.ca/government/opendata/terms-of-use.aspx.
  • Oakville Transit data licensed under the Open Government Licence – Town of Oakville.
  • Toronto Transit data licensed under the Open Government Licence – Toronto.

Apple Maps Adds Yellow Pages Turkey, NavAds & e.Wego

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Turkish Flag
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week Zac Hall reported on 9 To 5 Mac that the Apple Maps Acknowledgments page had been updated to include:

Yellow Pages Turkey
NavAds
e.Wego

Yellow Pages Turkey is pretty straightforward – Turkish business listings.

NavAds appears to be a Yext-like service. Here’s how they describe it on their GPS Listings page:

“NavAds has built a content platform whereby it manages its customer content, and this platform directly links with the core maps of TomTom, HERE and Google (the 3 principal global map providers). NavAds converts the customer content into the required format specifications of these parties and submits the content to these map providers.”

So they likely have a decent set of updated business data that Apple would like to display. Of interest is they recently inked a partnership with UBL. My guess is we will continue to see Apple partner with agents who have direct relationships with large numbers of local businesses to get the freshest data.

e.Wego also appears to provide local data distribution services to its clients along with other local digital presences solutions like store locators and mobile payments. I assume they are focused on French businesses but have not figured that out yet. They also operate the Mark and Go directory which is an empty webpage at this time.

We should continue to see Apple Maps add more of these data partnerships over the summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the launch of iOS 9 this fall that the partner list becomes quite substantial.

Also, while we’re at it, Apple Maps Connect added 5 more regions a few weeks ago: Europe: Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and The Netherlands.

Apple Maps Now Using Wikipedia, YellowPages Group of Canada & Dianping As Data Sources

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Apple Maps Wikipedia Photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quickly on the heels of adding data from TripAdvisor and Booking.com, Apple Maps now appears to be using information from Wikipedia, YellowPages Group of Canada and Dianping, China’s version of Yelp, to enhance the data from prominent points of interest (POIs). The profile above is for Burj Khalifa Dubai.

Burj Khalifa Apple Maps Profile (requires Mac OS X or iOS)
Burj Khalifa Wikipedia Page

Here are citations from Apple Maps recently updated Acknowledgements page showing the Yellow Pages Group of Canada* and Pages Jaunes (a YPG co) as business listings data sources:

Yellow Pages Canada Apple Maps
PagesJaunes Canada Apple Maps

It’s not clear if Apple Maps is getting data directly from YPG or that it is citing YPG as a source since they supply data to Yelp which then supplies it to Apple Maps. Recently, Google Maps stopped using YPG data. Could this have been because YPG was now in bed with Apple?

Here’s one for the Mili Aquarium in Zhuhai, China using Dianping data:

Mili Aquarium China Dianping Apple Maps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mili Aquarium Apple Maps Profile (requires Mac OS X or iOS)

Thus far I have not found any Wikipedia info on Apple Maps profiles of any non-landmark businesses that have Wikipedia pages (e.g. Dylan’s Candy Bar). It appears that the business must have some kind of landmark status to get the Wikipedia data, which appears to override any Yelp or other 3rd party reviews, which now do not appear on these profiles, at least those that I have found thus far.

I expect we will seeing a lot more of these data partnerships roll out over the next few months. Ultimately I anticipate that at some point any iOS app that has POI data will be able to be attached to relevant Apple Maps profiles.

Hat tip to Michael G. for being more obsessive about Apple Maps than even I am!

*Disclosure: Yellow Pages Group of Canada is a client of Local SEO Guide, the owner of this site

Businesses Can Now Claim Apple Maps Listings From iOS Devices (UPDATED)

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With the iOS 8.3 update released today, businesses can now claim their Apple Maps business listing via iOS devices . Here’s how it works:

Search for the business in the Apple Maps app, click on the “i” icon next to the map pin to see the business’ profile. Then click on the “Report a Problem” link:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the bottom of the Report a Problem screen, click on the “Claim This Business” link:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You then get a pop-up dialog message that says you will need to verify ownership of the business:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you click “Confirm,” you are taken to the login screen for Apple Maps Connect in the mobile Safari browser where you will need to either login or register with an AppleID to get in.

Once in Apple Maps Connect, you should be taken through the normal phone verification system, but it appears that there are still some kinks to be worked out:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update:
This feature also is now available on desktops with OS X Yosemite version 10.10.3. Just click on the Report a Problem button on any unclaimed business profile:


 

 

 

Thanks to Michael Giskin for first pointing this out!

Apple Maps Adds Yext, GasBuddy, GreatSchools & Other Data Providers

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GasBuddy Apple Maps

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we had previously discovered that Yext* and a number of local search agencies were going to be providing data to Apple Maps, it looks like Apple made it official some time this past month by adding Yext as a supplier of “Business Listings Data” to Apple Maps’ Acknowledgements page.

The following companies are also new to the Acknowledgements page:

GasBuddy/OpenStore (GasBuddy.com): I assume this is to get gas prices attached to gas station profiles, but I don’t see this data on Apple Maps yet.

GreatSchools (GreatSchools.com): I assume this is to add school reviews and other school data to the maps, but I haven’t seen this data on Apple Maps yet.

National Land Survey of Finland Topographic Database: Might help finding your way around Helsinki.

This should be a big deal for these companies as they can now officially tout to customers that they have direct feeds into Apple Maps. Most of the companies I outed in November were unable to even mention to most of their employees that they were working with Apple because of Apple’s NDA. My understanding as of the end of 2014 is that most of those companies were beta testing working with Apple and had little control or understanding of how Apple was using their data, including whether or not Apple was using their data at all. This public acknowledgement of Yext, GasBuddy & GreatSchools implies that they are or soon will be using data from these three companies.

My bet is this is beginning of a trend where Apple Maps integrates consumer-focused third-party data into its business listings similar to how it has integrated Yelp. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the launch of iOS 9 this fall, that we start to see a lot more of these types of partnerships, particularly in areas like Hotel and Restaurant Reservations.

I still expect Apple Maps to develop an integrated app strategy where the map will know that you have a certain app on your phone that has data relevant to your map query and will either display the data on the map or provide the ability to open the app to complete the query, similar to what Google Maps is doing with Uber. This may end up being a great app discovery tool as well if AM starts suggesting apps based on your map queries. They already do to some extent with relevant apps at the bottom of the POI profiles, but I imagine this is pretty invisible to most users.

 

 

 

*Full disclosure: Yext is a client of our consulting company, Local SEO Guide