One iOS 6 feature that’s been heavily rumoured to appear at Apple’s WWDC later today is the new Maps application. Expected to replace the current version, where location services are provided by Google, Apple’s method of data collection has come into question with concerns over privacy.
The move away from reliance on Google has been in the works for a little while now, with the acquisition of companies Placebase, Poly9 and C3 Technologies over the past few years. Each of these, particularly the last, C3, have showcased a variety of geographical mapping and data collection techniques, however the latest reports, referenced on Brand Republic, state that concerns have arisen over Apple’s method of aerial photography collection for their upcoming in-house maps service.
Apple has apparently hired a private air force to capture high-definition aerial imagery taken over 20 major cities across the world, including London, using powerful military-grade photographic equipment. The notion is that Apple should have asked for the consent of homeowners before the imagery was/is uploaded and available in the new application, expected to be called Apple Maps or iMaps.
Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said that endeavours from both Google and Apple in this field are for "pure commercial gain" without concern for who they may affect. "The next generation of maps is taking us over the garden fence. You won't be able to sunbathe in your garden without worrying about an Apple or Google plane buzzing overhead taking pictures."
Both Apple’s new iOS application and the update coming to Google’s map services aim to bring high quality 3D modelling into the mapping system, with Apple’s focus on general topology and Google’s on accurately rendered cities. We'll bring you more news on the update tonight.