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These Cities Should Be in 3D Flyover — But They’re Not

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Venice, Italy

When Apple purchased C3 Technologies to make use of their realistic 3D mapping system, C3 already had a number of major world cities mapped. So why have some of them been left out of Apple Maps‘ big debut?

Last week, I explained how Apple’s 3D “Flyover” mapping system originated with a company called C3 Technologies, which Apple acquired last year. But while doing research about C3 Technologies, reading through articles written about them pre-Apple, I made a surprising discovery: there were cities C3 had already mapped into their 3D system that don’t show up in 3D Flyover mode in Apple Maps.

The missing 3D cities include Florence, Helsinki, Oslo, Prague, Venice, and Vienna. You can see evidence of some of these 3D cities in the images above and below, which originated here.

Prague, Czech Republic

What’s more, this article from Reuters claims that as of April 2011, C3 actually had more than one hundred 3D cities in its database. (Some of these 3D cities were licensed and integrated into Nokia’s “Ovi Maps” service before Apple acquired the company.) Obviously, this means that Apple is sitting on 60+ 3D cities that have yet to be integrated into Apple Maps (after you count the 42 cities currently known to be displayed in 3D).

There are a number of reasons Apple might be rolling out their 3D city database slowly. They could be testing the waters, seeing what kind of strain the high-res textures and 3D models put on their servers, before pushing out the entire database. They could be having some compatibility issues with importing C3’s maps into Apple’s mapping software. Or maybe some of C3’s older 3D maps are out-of-date; things are constantly being torn down and built, all over the world, after all. Or maybe Apple has another, better reason for holding back.

I don’t know what the hold up is, but I sure wish they’d hurry up.

Helsinki, Finland
Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

3 thoughts on “These Cities Should Be in 3D Flyover — But They’re Not

  1. Robin:

    Totally off topic here. In future, Apple should seriously consider releasing 2 sets of iOS. One for the U.S. & North America and the other for the rest of the world.* I say this because of 2 facts. First, the maps in iOS 6 are totally worthless where I’m currently based i.e. the Middle East. Second, Passbook, it doesn’t serve me any purpose here as it’ll only be helpful to me & my family when we’re back home on the West Coast.

    Just my 2 cents.

    *I’m quite sure iTunes can figure this out during the iOS update process on any iDevice and if that were not possible, then it could throw an option to the user to choose an area-specific IPSW for their device.

  2. Compare the La Sagrada Família (Barcelona, Spain) on Nokia’s Ovi Maps and in iOS Maps and you’ll see the difference. iOS Maps are more polished and flyovers from different time. The visuals of iOS Maps are also different, I tink that they use some color editing in some areas, so it doesnt look too dark or too bright.

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