Since the release of the original iPhone back in 2007, Apple has been using Google Maps as their “native” navigation app. However, that’s most likely going to change, C3 Technologies (a revolutionary 3D mapping company) was bought out this August and shut down by the company that purchased it. Until recently, there was only speculation that it was Apple that acquired C3 Technologies – but now it’s official. Thanks to Apple’s acquisition of the company, Apple will be able to use C3 Technologies and their resources to improve their own products.
According to sources, the former CEO, CFO and Project Manager of C3 Technologies is working with Apple’s iOS development team to implement 3D maps for a better navigation solution.
Now comes the exciting part, what C3 Technologies actually does and how they do it! Thanks to the assistance of cutting edge technology, C3 is able to accurately map and recreate miles of terrain and buildings within hours without any human input. To start things off, an aircraft equipped with special filming equipment is flown at an altitude of 500 meters. Then the aircraft flies over a 10 km x 10 km grid covering a total distance of 100 square km in approximately one hour. After the flight, it takes five hours to completely process the data – this step is completely automated. And finally, the computer sorts through the data and classifies different types of terrain and the result is an incredibly realistic 3D map with an accuracy of 0.3 meters!
Here’s a video that actually demonstrates the steps listed above:
Here are two examples of what C3 Technology is capable of, and what they’ve mapped in the past:
With Apple’s purchase of C3 Technologies, the possibility to be completely free and independent of Google, and their domination of the virtual map industry, can become a reality! However, it’s likely that we won’t see the implementation of Apple’s own 3D maps in iOS until at least iOS 6, or later. With that said, stay tuned for more news related to C3 Technologies and Apple’s advancement in 3D mapping.