Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Why Apple included Maps in Mavericks

Christopher Breen | Nov. 13, 2013
Maps on Mavericks may not seem necessary but based on the way it channels location data to other applications, and considering the things that kind of location data allows those other apps to do, we're just starting to see some of the intriguing possibilities.

From this same menu you can share this data via email, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook.

Points of interest

Use either Google or Apple's Maps, and you'll see the expected roads and overhead views. As you zoom in on either you'll additionally see points of interest--restaurants, service stations, businesses, parks, and museums. Click on one of these locations and, most of the time, some kind of information window appears. In the case of Apple's Maps, a flag appears providing the name of the location and, if one's available, a Yelp rating along with the number of reviews the location has received.

Google Maps shows business ratings, too. But in my experience, it doesn't rate as many businesses. And the ratings it does show are supplied by Google users only. Apple Maps, by comparison, shows ratings from Yelp--the de facto service for giving businesses the business.

If you click the Info button in Apple's Maps, you'll get important information about the location including phone number, website URL, street address, reviews, and photos; Google Maps offers much the same. But there's a bit more in Apple's version. From within its window, you can add a location to Maps' bookmarks, add it to your contacts, get directions, or send Apple a report that there's a problem with the location (specifically that some information about it is incorrect). Some people might suggest that, given the unreliability of some of Apple's mapping data, this last feature is an unfortunate necessity.

Eye candy

Out of the box, Maps supports a 3D view, one where you can see certain locations from an overhead angle, allowing you to see how tall buildings and hills are. Now it's true that Google is currently previewing a new maps service that also offers 3D views, but that option isn't available in Safari. Rather, you must be running a version of Google Chrome or Firefox that supports WebGL. As a native application, Maps doesn't depend on the whimsy of Web browsers to produce 3D scenes. It just works.

So is Maps necessary? Purely as an exercise in finding out where something is located on this spinning jewel of ours, not really. We have plenty of other options. However, based on the way it channels location data to other applications, and considering the things that kind of location data allows those other apps to do, we're just starting to see some of the intriguing possibilities.

 

Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.