The map wars

It’s such an exciting time.  Apple making its own mapGoogle upgrading.  All of a sudden I find myself explaining that putting together a map of the world is a good trick, but we have the technology.  It’s been done any number of times.

The trick seems to be a combination of getting the usability right (thank you Google, mostly) and keeping the data alive (thank you social web and state capitalism).

Of course, mobiles have a huge hand in this as well.  We knew back in 2010 that maps are the most persistant mobile app (the most used category of app) among UC faculty, staff, and students.  67% of my Chinese respondents (smartphone carrying, second-tier city dwelling, college students. n=49) used their mapping app at least once a week.

And I’m sure a rigorous enough assessment has yet to be done.  Is Yelp a map app?  Do people consider using their phone as a navigation device “using a map”?  I certainly do, but I’m a bit of an outlier.  I would pre-download tiles before heading out in Wuhan with compass, map, and GPS.  That boat dock?  That’s mine.

Interesting times indeed.