Apple buys location data company to sort out Maps app

Apple has bought Locationary to sort out the woeful Apple Maps app with up-to-date data.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

When it comes to finding stuff on a map, Apple can't find its bumcheeks with both hands in its back pockets. But it's bought a company called Locationary to help with that.

Apple has snapped up the company and its staff for an undisclosed sum. 

Based in Toronto, Locationary is a crowdsourced location data company. It continuously verifies information on local businesses so that the map not only shows the business in the right place, but also confirms the business is in fact still there. So say you're looking for a pub with a beer garden at which to hang out in the sunshine; Locationary's data ensures that you don't turn up in your shorts or a nice maxidress only to find the pub has been knocked down to build flats.

Apple Maps has struggled on both counts: stuff being marked in the wrong place, and data being hopelessly out of date.

Apple ditched Google Maps for an own-brand version late last year, filled with woefully out-of-date data and even prompting safety warnings from police. The Apple Maps app was so bad Apple boss Tim Cook was forced to take the unusual step of issuing a public apolog and suggesting you try rival apps.

It's unclear when Locationary's data will find its way into Apple Maps. Perhaps it'll show up in the updated Maps app in iOS 7 later this year? In the meantime, there's always Google Maps for iOS devices, which has just been updated and finally returns to the iPad.

Are the potential improvements to Apple Maps too little too late, or is Apple's location app actually perfectly servicable? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or follow these directions to our Facebook page.