Apple Hiring ‘Ground Truth’ Managers To Improve Maps

apple-maps-squareIf job listings are any indication, Apple remains committed to improving its iOS Maps app.

As the iDownload Blog spotted, Apple currently has seven job listings for what’s called a “Maps Ground Truth Manager.” The positions are based around the world — U.S., Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Japan, Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Middle East/Africa.

The job description explains that these Ground Truth Managers will be responsible for improving and ensuring the accuracy of Apple Maps.

The Maps team is searching for a manager for the team responsible for regional map quality and ground truth in the U.S.. Each of our regional teams is responsible for the quality of our maps in their region. This team’s responsibilities include:

  • Testing new releases of map code and data around the U.S.
  • Collecting ground truth data to allow for analysis of the impact of potential map code or data changes relative to known truth
  • Utilizing local expertise to provide feedback about U.S.-specific mapping details
  • Evaluating competing products in-region relative to our maps


The job listings not only reflect Apple Maps’ early problems, but also underscore how right Google’s Eric Schmidt was last year when he said that Apple is learning that “maps are really hard.”

Google has been working on maps for years, and relies heavily today on “feet on the ground” products like Google Street View and Map Maker to improve its mapping accuracy. To give you an idea of how far ahead Google is, consider that those two products launched in 2007 and 2008, respectively. And 5-6 years is a long time in internet/tech development.

Last year, when Apple was prepping its own Maps app for public release, Google went on a sort of dog-and-pony show talking about how tough mapping is and how it tries to overcome the challenges. In an article by The Atlantic, there was this description of Google’s human, hands-on approach to mapping:

The sheer amount of human effort that goes into Google’s maps is just mind-boggling. Every road that you see slightly askew in the top image has been hand-massaged by a human. The most telling moment for me came when we looked at couple of the several thousand user reports of problems with Google Maps that come in every day. The Geo team tries to address the majority of fixable problems within minutes.

If it didn’t realize this already, Apple appears to have gotten the message about feet-on-the-ground mapping.

Related Topics: Apple: Maps | Channel: Local | Features: Analysis | Search Engines: Maps & Local Search Engines | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Harsh Bawa

    Apple Maps is easily the worst thing to come out of Apple’s pocket.
    There are parts of the US, China, and Russia where Maps does a fine job of getting people where they are going.

    However, even though Maps hasn’t lead me off any cliffs, I have found that its relatively weak POI database is like an anchor around its neck. It just isn’t comprehensive enough. If I can’t find where I want to go, then what’s the point? That’s as big a reason as any why I don’t use it as much at this point.

    Hope they get the execution right..

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