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The news of the last couple weeks about the stark differences between Apple and Google’s maps have shed light on how hard it is to build a mobile map. Showing a destination that’s a few hundred yards off becomes a critical flaw, and there are tens of millions of such place markers on these maps. While the narrative over Apple’s recent maps release has largely focused on the base utility of maps — that is, navigation — the reality is that building the map of the future is something that’s even more ambitious and difficult.
The future of mobile maps is not just satellite imagery and a draggable interface (as amazing as those things are). It’s about access to real-time information about everything around you, from deals to popular places to where your friends are.