Apple purchases mapping company Locationary: report

Apple purchased Locationary, a data management company that specializes in creating accurate maps.

Paul Sakuma/AP/File
An Apple logo at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
A screenshot of Apple's Maps application. Apple is trying to boost up its location services with the purchase of Locationary.

Apple purchased Locationary, a data management company that aggregates information about different places, such as local businesses, according to All Things Digital.

The Canadian-based Locationary uses a federal data exchange platform called Saturn that collects data files in different formats and translates them to a standard format. This translation process allows reports about locations to be cross referenced so that inaccuracies about different venues can be identified and removed. The flow of cross-referenced data is then used to create more accurate maps.

And Apple’s Maps service for iPhone could certainly use a boost in accuracy.

With the launch of iOS 6, Apple replaced Google Maps as the default search tool with its own Maps application. But the new Maps app proved to be so faulty that Apple chief Tim Cook issued a rare apology for the application’s shortcomings and a promise to improve the service.

Several days after Mr. Cook’s statement, Grant Ritchie, the CEO and founder of Locationary, wrote an article for TechCrunch called “Five Big Map App Issues Apples Must Solve.” Mr. Ritchie describes the difficulties of taking disparate types of data and translating them back – correctly – to maps. Ten months later, Ritchie’s company is now a central player in solving Apple’s map problem.

Apple's purchase of Locationary is also part of the company's ongoing effort to keep in stride with its main competitor: Google

Google purchased the Israeli-based mapping company Waze in June. The Internet giant's purchase of Waze prompted an anti-trust investigation. 

Google paid $1 billion in cash for the company, according to Reuters. Waze also uses crowdsourced data from users' cellphones to create maps and traffic data, which are then shared with users. There was speculation around Google's purchase that it was made, in part, to keep Waze out of the hands of Google's rivals, according to Reuters.   

Apple has not confirmed the purchase of Locationary or given details of how the service will be integrated into iOS. 

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