Apple is reportedly working on a new maps app that will utilize 3D technology and be compatible with future versions of the company's iOS software.
Apple recently bought out a Swedish-based-3D-mapping firm called C3 Technologies. C3 Technologies is best known for creating detailed maps through their use of 3-dimensional technology.
Apple also acquired the services of another 3D mapping service last year called Poly9.
New rumors surrounding Apple acquisition of these companies points to the development of a new 3D maps app for iOS devices.
9to5mac.com said, "With Apple’s acquisitions of both C3 Technologies and Poly9, we think it is very likely that the future of iOS Maps will include a third-dimension."
Recent patents and job openings also point to Apple getting ready to create this new app.
Last year, a number of Apple patent applications showed that the company was looking into using future iPhone's to generate 3D models of an object or place. Earlier this year, Apple filed an application entitled "Augmented Reality Maps" for an invention that would overlay data such as directions or street names in real time on top of live video feeds.
Apple has also filed for a "Schematic Maps" patent, whose mapping application would dynamically emphasize or exaggerate details such as roads or landmarks.
This new maps app would be a vast improvement over the map applications that search engines like Google and Bing already use.
Paul Smith, C3 Chief Strategy Officer, stated that "Unlike Google or Bing, all of our maps are 360° explorable. Everything, every building, every tree, every landmark, from the city center to the suburbs, is captured in 3D-not just a few select buildings."
Apple would be able to offer users of its iOS-enabled devices a new way of viewing maps. This new application may not be available until next year, which some say might be the time for the new iOS 6 software update.
Technology Review previously reported that C3's 3D mapping method entailed using planes equipped with angled digital SLR cameras to take aerial photos that capture the sides of buildings as well as the tops. The images derived from this process were then supported by additional photos from new angles.
A complete, 3D rendering of whichever location was photographed is created from this process.
The embedded video below shows how 3D mapping technology actually works: