Apple, behind rival Google in advanced software offerings, is working hard to develop its own 3D mapping technologies at a mysterious technology facility in Sweden.
The facility is located in Lund, in the southern portion of Sweden, just across the water from Copenhagen. C3 Technologies, a company that Apple purchased in 2011, runs the operation.
Apple has been expanding the Swedish office, which it claims is only temporary but appears anything but. The company has reportedly been hiring heavily in the area.
The main activity at the outpost is the development of 3D models. These models are developed by taking pictures using multiple moving cameras at different angles and constructing 3D models of the images that are produced.
This technology is notably important to Apple, as the company is attempting to relaunch its poorly received Apple Maps app. The initial launch did not go very well, as it was slammed by critics for its shoddy geography and lack of useful local landmarks.
However, Apple Maps has been improving lately. Apple has developed its own version of Google’s popular “Street View”. This allows users to see a real world view of actual areas, down at the street level.
Developing better 3D modelling technology will greatly assist Apple in competing with Google when it comes to mapping, a key smartphone device selection criteria due to the apps being very widely used. As one of the most useful apps on a phone it's also one that’s used almost daily. Get maps wrong and consumers will switch to whole new devices.
The new mapping technology will be extremely useful for Apple, as the company is reportedly trying to develop its own self-driving vehicle, again in direct competition with Google. Having a reliable mapping system is critical for such technology.