The glorious glitches of Apple Maps

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

It seems as though every mapping service is bound to have its gremlins. One man is documenting the fascinating bugs in Apple Maps.

Apple Maps has improved in leaps and bounds since its shaky relaunch late last year, but that doesn't mean the app is completely bogey free.

In a series called "Map Glitches", Peder Norrby, founder of Trapcode, has been collecting some of the most interesting Apple Maps blunders he can find.

Glitches in maps such as these aren't uncommon. They occur when there's a misalignment between the 3D topography and the 2D satellite images, warping the landscape and making it appear as though it is either bubbling with eldritch cthonic energy or melting with apocalyptic heat.

Norrby's catalogue shows a world that looks like it's in the end of days. Roads warp and bend, cars melt into the pavement, foliage boils up the sides of buildings as though swallowing them whole. And yet, they're quite strangely beautiful.

And it's this that he is trying to document. Rather than making fun of Apple, he is collating a set of visuals he simply finds interesting, telling CoDesign, "I'm not trying to ridicule Apple Maps. I'm doing this because I like the images."

And, of course, Google Maps isn't without its own set of map whoopsies. Artist Clement Valla has been documenting its hilarious bugs since 2011 in Postcards from Google Earth.

Click through the gallery below for some of our favourites, or head to Norrby's Flickr page, Map Glitches, for the full set.

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freediverx posted a comment   

How about showing how much "better" Google's new 3D maps are in comparison?

Google's new 3D Maps destroy Manhattan in the wake of Apple's Flyover


TristramW posted a comment   

Wish I could flick through the pictures you guys post instead of reloading the whole page..


JonathanD1 posted a comment   

They must have a NSLsd object in their rendering software. Same Sh*t happend with iOS 7 :-o


mrt_1995 posted a reply   

get real ... the IOS 7 is only beta version atm


RyanC4 posted a comment   

These are so definitely not glitches - most of them at least - putting a 2D image on a 3D projection will ALWAYS result like this from angles. Most of the images in the FLICKR set are expected in those situations, the Iranian landscape so far is the loan true glitch probably caused by a lack of data on Apple's end.

But you cannot expect a plane on tarmac, when captured both with satellite visual and laser telemetry to show up perfectly... it's a representative model of heights and widths and angles as seen from space, not the ground. If you wanted that you'd combine the overhead satellite image with a Google Street View car on the ground at that very moment - and that will never happen.

Quit calling a mathematically impossibility a glitch.


GermanA posted a reply   

"Putting a 2D image on a 3D projection will ALWAYS result like this from angles". Of course, thats why apple needs to hire some 3d artits to retouch this 3d models, until then apple maps SUCKS.


RyanC4 posted a reply   

The money isn't where the maps are - it's where the user is. That would be a MASSIVE waste of money.


ChrisP5 posted a reply   

True, That's what crowd sourcing is for though right?

Let people edit it for free. you'd be surprised how many people would want to fix up their local architecture... OK maybe it wouldn't be much of a surprise.

If they let out the ability to let people correct or ad vector information, all they'd need to do is approve it.

and with that we'd have better maps, AND Norrby would be able to collect / make even more wacky and wild images of earth.

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