Justin O’Beirne has published another amazingly detailed analysis of Apple Maps and how it has developed compared to Google Maps. While I shall yield to Justin’s mastery of all things geospatial, I feel like he kind of punted on his analysis of Apple Maps’ business listings data.
O’Beirne observes that Apple Maps has few business listings for Markleeville, CA and then claims “all of the businesses shown on Apple’s Markleeville map seem to be coming from Yelp, Apple’s primary place data provider.”
While only Apple and Yelp know for sure, I am fairly certain Yelp is not Apple Map’s “primary place data provider.” I imagine Yelp is Apple’s primary U.S. business review provider, and perhaps has a significant role in helping Apple verify a business is in a specific place with specific data, but there are several other business listings data providers that likely are providing the “primary” place data to Apple, not the least of which includes Acxiom, Factual, Neustar Localeze and TomTom. These companies likely have significantly larger POI datasets than Yelp, while Yelp likely has the lead in newly created businesses in its popular categories. Clear Channel Broadcasting may also be a provider, although it is unclear what data it is exactly providing Apple.
In his analysis of Apple’s lack of businesses in Markleeville, O’Beirne claims that “Apple Maps doesn’t have some of the businesses and places Google has.” This is possibly true, but not based on the data O’Beirne shows. Here’s his comparison of what Apple and Google show for a section of Markleeville:
I think O’Beirne is confusing that Apple Maps is not displaying the businesses in this view v. actually having them. Each of the highlighted businesses on Google Maps are on Apple Maps, they just don’t appear in the default view of this section:
I believe a lot of the Markleeville business data (surprisingly) comes from Factual, not Yelp.
O’Beirne also makes a point about a discrepancy between Apple Maps and Yelp re a single listing as evidence of a larger problem. O’Beirne states “there’s a place on Apple’s map with no Yelp listing at all: the “Alpine County District Attorney”. Even stranger, it appears to be a garage:” Then he shows the following the Apple Maps listing next to an image of a garage at the same location from Bing Maps:
The problem actually is that Apple Maps has the Alpine County DA location correct, but it also has a dupe listing in the wrong place:
I am not going to claim that Apple Maps has fewer dupe listings than Google Maps, but given the amount of crap we deal with for clients on Google Maps on a daily basis, I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the case. Regardless, the really odd thing is that had O’Beirne checked Google Maps, he would have seen its address for the Alpine County District Attorney’s office is 100% wrong:
I am not trying to dispute O’Beirne’s take that Apple Maps still has a long way to go and it may never get to feature parity with Google Maps, but maybe Apple Maps is not in as bad shape as he thinks.