Apple’s New iOS 6 Maps App Is A Work In Progress, Presenting the Maps + Google Places Hybrid

Back when I first installed the beta for iOS 6, I already noted that the new Maps app, powered by maps from TomTom and a host of other data providers, left a lot to be desired compared to the old Maps app by Google. The maps, the Malaysian ones at least, were old, with roads missing and satellite images outdated. The transition to TomTom resulted in a lot of POI information being missing and local businesses were literally wiped off the map.

The situation did not improve with the official launch of iOS 6, and since the operating system has been released, there are plenty more people adding to the voice of discontent that Apple has really screwed up this time when it came to Maps. According to online feedback, the new Maps app had plenty going against it: routing is off, locations are off and what’s more embarrassing, some really odd textures of flattened roadways and buildings.

For me, the biggest problem would be no longer being able to access the massive Google Places databases whenever you are looking for stuff. For example, there’s a Thai restaurant that I’m interested in having dinner at, and while I know Google Maps can easily show me the location, the new Maps app took me all the way to the middle of Bangkok, nearly 1,500 kilometers away by car.

Having experienced that, I decided to create a proof of concept map application that runs on my iOS 6 iPhone 3GS, one that runs on the new Maps (no choice) but at the same time calls the Google Places API when it came to search. Here’s a screenshot of what happens when I search for the same item, the one of the left being the new Maps app and the one on the right being the PoC:

Different? Most definitely. I guess that having built such a hybrid app it will be just a matter of time before the App Store gets flooded by such apps. There are several caveats though for developers, there’s a rate limit for the Google Places API calls, we are looking at 1,000 requests within a 24 hour period with a key, but verified users (you’ll need to submit your credit card details for validation) can have a nice boost to 100,000 requests within the same period.

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