Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Why Doesn’t ‘Look Around’ Cover More Areas in the United States?

Justin O’Beirne is so good at these articles. In this new one, he explores four primary questions:

  1. Why was the Look Around coverage in Canada available so soon after Apple began collecting it and across so much land, compared to every other country Apple has released Look Around imagery for so far?

  2. Why do points of interest differ significantly between Apple Maps’ flat view, Look Around imagery, and the real world?

  3. Why do many of Apple’s most recent Look Around releases lack points-of-interest?

  4. Whatever happened to the vans Apple showed off to Matthew Panzarino in June 2018? The most recent image I can find with one of those LiDAR vans was captured in September 2018 — but none of its imagery is available in Maps nor, as O’Beirne shows, are any of the images captured by those vans.

This is one of my favourite pieces that O’Beirne has done, and not just because he has kind words for yours truly. I love how mysterious this process is and, in particular, how it compares to Google’s efforts. Google obviously has more practice with building maps and processing street-level images. Apple’s approach reveals some hiccups and question marks — I really want to know what those vans were capturing and why they are apparently no longer used.