Apple has confirmed its purchase of Coherent Navigation, which specializes in precise geolocation, following information published by The New York Times. This technology could soon be integrated into Maps in order to make the app even more competitive against its rivals, notable Google Maps and HERE.
Coherent Navigation uses a technology called High Integrity GPS (iGPS), a system that combines signals from traditional mid-earth orbit GPS satellites with those from low-earth satellites of voice and data provider Iridium to offer greater accuracy and precision, higher signal integrity, and greater jam resistance. Apple will likely integrate it into its Maps app, in Mac OS and iOS, in order to present users with the most precise geolocation possible, before perhaps eventually developing other related projects.
This latest acquisition joins that of other start-ups (BroadMap, Embark, HopStop, Locationary...) that have all, in time, played a part in the development of Maps, an app which notably offers an interactive 3D bird's eye view of cities, voice-guided step-by-step navigation instructions and real-time traffic information.
Maps is only available on Apple devices, in Mac OS and iOS, where it nonetheless faces serious competition on the cartography front from Google (Maps) and Nokia (HERE).
Google Maps is the standard bearer
The Google Maps app remains the most accomplished in matters of cartography. It notably offers maps for 220 countries, detailed voice-guided GPS navigation, public transport maps for more than 15,000 cities, but also virtual navigation by way of Street View and a host of recommendations from services like Zagat or Google Offers that are integrated into search results.
Nokia's app HERE offers practically the same service, with the obvious exception of Street View, but with an offline navigation feature, allowing you to consult previously downloaded maps.
It should also be noted that Microsoft is not absent from this sector, even though Bing Maps, which allows users to view itineraries and an aerial or satellite view of the surroundings, requires a browser connection, or a smartphone running Windows Phone.