I Used to Be Able to Find My Way With My iPhone; Then Apple Released Their Own Maps

Up until yesterday, I would often use the Maps app on my iPhone to find my way, among some of the smaller streets in the town where I’ve only lived since the beginning of the year. But now, when I look at the Maps app, I can’t even see the smaller streets. This screen shot shows the area around my neighborhood:



While there is a bit of contrast here on a computer, on an iPhone, those smaller streets don’t show up at all. With the previous Maps app, I could see them all. (I’ve made all the screen shots in this article roughly the size of the iPhone display; if I took the actual screen shots, given their resolution, they would look much better than they do in reality. A retina display is nice when you’re looking at details, but the display is still small.)

And in the center of the town, again, the streets are visible on this screenshot, but on the iPhone, it’s nearly impossible to see them (and I’m not even outside, where daylight will make it harder):



To be fair, when I zoom in, I get information that wasn’t previously available in France. But with the small size of the iPhone screen, it’s hard to see the small streets unless you’re zoomed in a lot, and that makes it hard to find anything more than a few blocks away.



So this is a huge step backward, because of Apple’s choices for how to display their maps. I hope that Google releases an app of their own, allowing users to access their better-designed maps.

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9 replies
  1. Norm says:

    This looks much as I would expect, and I doubt if Google will be better. I have been using eMaps on my MB Air for a while – it is simpler and easier IMO to use than Google (tho’ uses the same data source, I think). I see very much the same kind of issue even on the much larger 11 inch screen. And a standard in-car GPS is not all that wonderful either if looking for detail.

    Maybe by the time the iPad mini comes out – ?? – things may have matured a little further, who knows. A successful Maps application on a smallish form factor is something I would really like to see too.

    Reply
    • kirk says:

      It’s not a question of whether Google will be better; it _was_ better. The older Maps app was very useful to me. I was able to see smaller streets, because they had black (or dark gray) lines, not the very light lines here, and the background was darker. The overall contrast seemed to be designed for a phone; now it looks like it’s designed for a computer.

      Reply
  2. Todd says:

    I was really excited about the new maps app in iOS6. A little bummed about loosing street view, but I didn’t use that too much. As soon as I popped open the maps app for the first time and it located me on my home street, I had to really squint. “Where is my STREET?” I saw my blue dot, but my street was nearly invisible, as were the surrounding streets. Wow – what a terrible color scheme chosen. The smaller streets are so thin and there’s almost no contrast between them and the background color. How did this slip through quality control? Major disappointment in the maps app for me, but I’m guessing they’ll correct that in the 6.1 update… I’m HOPING they do, anyway.

    Everything else has been really smooth since updating, though. Apps even launch faster on my 4S. Overall pleased with it so far (less than 24 hours in), but not happy with the low-contrast, hard-to-see maps coloring. Love that the text can be set to a larger font, so I can read the streets, even if I can’t see them.

    Reply
  3. Maria says:

    Boy, all I hear is complaining. You mean to say that everything you did on your phone was with google maps even though they track everything you do. Get a native GPS app for the iPhone instead of waiting for the maps to load. You can use your google maps.
    Step 1 open safari
    Step 2 go to google maps
    Step 3 type your search
    Now wait for it to load. ( hopefully your carrier has a decent Internet speed).

    Reply
  4. matt says:

    But you couldn’t do an amazing 3D fly through of your neighborhood on Google maps! Oh, you can’t do that now with the new maps either? Oh, the 3D fly through feature is great for demos but impractical in real life? Oh, well at least you can still use Google Maps via their mobile web version….

    Reply
  5. Bob says:

    I too am disappointed with the new Maps, especially the way traffic conditions are shown. Google Maps was not perfect either and that is why I use Motion X GPS Drive for navigation and Sigalert for traffic conditions.

    I’m sure Kirk has figured this out as the text size in Maps can be increased in Settings > Maps.

    Reply
  6. Jerry says:

    I was always disappointed by the Google maps as they were often inaccurate, showing strange names of localities (instead if those actually used there). They also loaded slowly and could not well separate roads that might be asphalted from gravel roads. I did not expect things to get better with the new maps. But one thing is better and they seem to load faster and some aspects looks nicer. But in other respects they are step backwards and getting an overview of small road alternatives is laughable just as Kirk suggests. But things like this could improve and I was anyway starting to use another mapping app here in Sweden which is better than Google’s (hitta

    Reply
  7. AdamC says:

    Goog map has been in development for how many years?

    Apple map has been in development for how many years?

    Perhaps there should be some perspective in your blog.

    You have a choice too so exercise it.

    Sorry I forgot this is your blog and you are entitled to blog whatever you LIKE.

    Reply

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