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Apple Maps up to five times more data efficient than Google Maps (loopinsight.com)
31 points by iPhone1 on Oct 1, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 40 comments

The title is a little misleading. It may be more efficient compared to the 5 years old Google Maps app on iOS, but Google Maps for Android has been vector based since December 16th, 2010, when they launched Google Maps 5.0.


Also don't forget Apple's Maps retrieve a lot less data than Google Maps, since they don't actually have that data. Google Maps offers a lot more information.

Also, compared to Android's app, it's also important to emphasize the ability to download map areas [1]. That way, you can download to your phone's cache the areas you will visit later, using a WiFi connection, so you can use the app without using your data plan or in areas without signal.

iOS's version of Maps was very incomplete compared to Android's version. Most probably, Apple was not very happy with Google about that.

[1] http://googleblog.blogspot.com.ar/2011/07/download-map-area-...

The title isn't misleading because the test has nothing to do with Android. They're comparing the two iOS map offerings, not cross-platform.

How would you infer that from the title? Bandwidth used by apps can and is frequently constant across platforms.

Won't adding a "on iOS" at the end help clarify things?

It's assumed. If you can't grasp that, I'm sorry.

In the title two competing products are mentioned. Google Maps and Apple Maps.

The article is comparing iOS Google Maps to iOS Apple Maps. iOS Google Maps is not the same as the product Google Maps.

If you can't grasp the difference of those two, I'm sorry.

Not to mention the old iOS mapping app was actually written by Apple, it was only using Google's tiles

>Also don't forget Apple's Maps retrieve a lot less data than Google Maps, since they don't actually have that data. Google Maps offers a lot more information.

Well this is just stupidity at its finest.

A few extra POIs/streets would pale in comparison to the difference between vector and raster images.

Clearly said in jest.

Of course you use less data when you don't need to download anything important...like oh say, roads, important subway stations, or cities!

Yeah, I'd rather wait 5 minutes for correct information instead of waiting 2 minutes for incorrect information.

This is a false dichotomy. The data you're getting in iOS is not wholly incorrect. You're right that there are some big holes. But, in apps like foursquare, the speed gains are significant. Especially when you just need the map to find what your geo coordinates are.

Apple maps has caused me plenty of headaches so far, but hearing this definitely pleases me. I remember traveling lost in Beijing and just ripping through my AT&T international data plan using maps to get back to my hotel.

Sure, with Apple maps I won't even find my hotel, but at least I'll do it five times more efficiently!

The reports that I've seen suggest Apple has better map tile/POI detail in China than Google does. China is one of the places that Apple comes out ahead of Google in terms of Map Data Quality.

This would be an assessment over the application and the efficiency of using vectors - thought it is interesting to hear that the satellite maps show a win as well.

When I'm traveling internationally, and have roaming disabled, I use Google Maps in "Standard View" very cautiously - keenly aware of that $0.15/megabyte charge I'm racking up.

So, for those cities that do have decent road layouts, routing, and POI information - this actually is a nice little benefit.

Can anyone compare this to the Google Maps on Android? Downloading vector based map will obviously use less data than raster map image (different one at different zoom level nonetheless). I don't see how this is much of a news.

It's news to anyone with an iPhone that has to pay for their data when downloading maps @ $0.15/megabyte when traveling internationally. I've racked up $20-$30 just using the maps application on a single trip, so this is positive news for me.

Customer: It's not much of a cheese shop, is it?

Owner: Finest in the district!

Customer: (annoyed) Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.

Owner: Well, it's so clean, sir!

Customer: It's certainly uncontaminated by cheese....


Google Maps for Android has an offline cache, which is a huge advantage, especially for those traveling in subways without a data connection. Would love to see that show up on iOS.

I find it ironic that Apple is using RPC-encoded Google protocol buffers for communication in their Maps product.

I'd like to hear more about that. Care to elaborate?

During the last XCode beta, I was playing around with the iPhone simulator and using a proxy I saw the server would respond to geocoding requests with an 'application/x-protobuf' header. That header has since been removed, but the data is still encoded the same (comparing the same request before and after). I was going to try to figure out the RPC encoding method Apple's using, but I lost motivation after reading that they are rate-limiting the API, making it less useful to me.

I guess, it's a lot easier to be data efficient... When you have next to no map data to retrieve in the first place. I am tired of hearing about Apple's Maps, whether it's good or bad, everyone can agree (even Apple themselves agree) that the maps application is sub-par and finding nice things to say about it doesn't change the fact that if you want to get somewhere the new Apple Maps can only promise to get you within 80km of the location you want to be in (if you're lucky), not to mention the missing landmarks, weird black and white colouring of some areas and missing roads.

Let's not detract away from the real problem here. Lets see if Apple Maps are as data efficient in 5 years when they catch up to half the level that Google Maps are currently at provided they work day and night to get to that stage.

No, but I'm sure we _can_ all agree that map quality and POI quantity/accuracy will vary significantly by area.

Let's not detract from the real problem here: the lack of sea monsters and other mythical beasts in all smartphone mapping offerings (sure Google included them in their 8 bit maps, but they tried to pass that off as a joke).

That's great, but I'm sure most people would rather spend more data in exchange for more accurate and complete maps.

Another thing to remember: with LTE larger maps wouldn't even take much longer to download.

In other news: Apple Maps missing 5 times the data that Google offers.

For the umpteenth time:

There was never a Google Maps app on the iPhone, there was an Apple app powered by Google's data.

The correct way of stating this is that Apple's iOS6 maps app is more data efficient than previous versions. As for the main reason the current app is more efficient is that it relies on vector graphics instead of image tiles, a technique Google have been using on Android for nearly 2 years: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/12/under-hood-of-googl...

Another Android maps feature lets users select areas to cache offline, which I imagine saves even more data (it auto-caches frequented areas): http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/06/go-offline-with-g...

That feature is also worth mentioning for when Apple duplicates it and some people try to convince themselves that it was Apple's idea.

Calm down. Everyone is just calling it Google Maps out of simplicity.

And yes it is vector on Android which was rumored to be one of the reasons Apple even started on this whole maps adventure. Because Google wasn't willing to license the vector data to give Android a competitive advantage.

>Calm down.

He is calm and pointing out a fact.

>Everyone is just calling it Google Maps out of simplicity.

No they aren't calling it Google Maps out of simplicity. Read the article:

"Apple Maps has been getting its share of negative attention since being released, but some new research shines a bright spot on the comparison between Apple’s and Google’s mapping apps."

"Results for the satellite view in Maps showed Apple’s app used about half of Google’s mapping application."

The title is still misleading, should read "old iOS Maps".

I think is his point is that the onus for the lack of data efficiency is on Apple and not Google, which is what the conclusion I came to after reading the article.

but after reading you point, as a laymen, I have no idea what to believe.

I'm just a bit bothered by this phenomena of discovering features on the iPhone that were present on Android for ages and then attributing them to Apple: the notifications shade, voice input, voice actions, the ability to answer phone calls with canned texts, and now maps among many other things.

Many in the press keep omitting the fact that Android did it first, which I think is important in this climate where Apple is very litigious regarding this stuff and the press keeps touting their originality while simultaneously dismissing other innovators.

No one really claims that Apple did them first. In some cases, these features have gained press just because Apple's solution was more elegantly designed.

That is nonsense. It's because Apple generates huge PR, their device launches are treated like news items on most publicans.

Also it could be because Apple feels the need to give every minute feature a name which is also a PR thing.

Oh, and none of the features I've mentioned are better executed on iOS.

So, it probably means that Apple is pretty good at marketing features to customers.

It sounds like your motive is not to have an honest argument, but rather diss Apple/iOS and how they violate your worldview. This is not the forum to do that. Go to engadget or something.

I'm just a bit bothered by this phenomena of discovering features on Android that were present on Palm phones for ages and then attributing them to Android: voice input, voice actions, the ability to answer phone calls with canned texts, and now maps among many other things.

You have heard of Palm, right ?

Fairly sure one of my old dumbphones had canned texts for phone calls.

One of the good things about Apple is precisely what lot of people here are complaining about: they tell you what you can do with your phone and why it's neat. Samsung have been getting on board wih this of late, with their Apple mockery ads, where they actually advertise features to the general public.

I'm far more bothered by Apple's process of discovering features that were on Palm / Windows Mobile / Symbian / ... phones for ages and then either patenting them or figuring out a way to twist decade-old Mac OS patents into covering them.

The reason I dived into Android with so much relish was because it was so much like my Asus WinMo PDA. The TOMTOM maps on that was brilliant. GPS was way more accurate than Google Maps, both as in "determining what road you're on" and "pinpoint accuracy in the middle of nowhere".

Neither have the press evidently.

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