Apple Maps: Camera backpacks should capture cities in Germany

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Apple plans to collect map data in Germany soon with a camera backpack in order to also cover car-free areas. Over the coming weeks, employees with appropriate portable systems will be on foot in several cities, including Munich (as well as Fürstenfeldbruck, Dachau, Freising), Berlin, Hamburg (plus Pinneberg and Harburg) as well as Potsdam and the surrounding area, as the company announced.

Apple apparently wants to cover particularly well-known areas there, such as the English Garden in Munich and the Tiergarten in Berlin. The surveys are expected to take place by October 2021.

The data recorded by the backpacks can be incorporated into the “Look Around” function, for example. explains Apple – this is the Street View counterpart of the map service, with which you can already move virtually at street level through the first regions in the USA. Faces and license plates should automatically be made unrecognizable. Residents have the option to request pixelation of their houses.

Just like Apple’s fleet of vehicles for capturing map data, the backpacks are not only equipped with cameras but also with light detection and ranging sensors (lidar) to capture the surroundings in three dimensions. Competitor Google has also been using camera backpacks for a long time for its own map service – as well as tricycles with cameras and sensors mounted on them.

In the past few months, Apple also collected data on foot using an iPad in German cities, where the lidar sensors are likely to have taken over the main work. That is for “purposes of map improvement” is what Apple only says.

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At the same time, Apple’s fleet of camera vehicles will start in Austria in the coming weeks in order to collect detailed data there as well. In Germany, the Group’s vehicles have been on the road again and again since 2019, and the Apple Maps cars were on the road in all federal states last year. Apple is thus preparing the introduction of the new, more detailed version of its map service, which is already available in the first countries such as the USA, Great Britain and Spain, and Italy is also to be converted this year. A concrete introduction date for Germany and Austria is not yet available.


(lbe)

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