A new acquisition from Apple suggests that the iPhone maker might be getting into the map-making business.
The company paid as much as $30 million for a 12-person San Francisco startup that specializes in parsing location data into visualizations, according to reports.
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” the company said in a statement to Re/code.
Mapsense creates what it calls “maps for the era of connected devices.”
“There are over 10 billion devices on the planet streaming location data on a daily basis,” Mapsense’s website says. “While collecting location data has become mainstream, the traditional tools to visualize, understand, and harness it have been hampered by the speed and scale of this massive and complex new datasource.”
Translation: If you provide the data, its platform will give you the map.
We won’t know what Apple is doing with Mapsense until it tells us, but this could be a move to create ownership of the information contained in its Maps app. Maps just got a revamp in today’s iOS 9 release, including directions for transit in select cities, but it still uses data from third-party companies like GPS maker TomTom “and others,” the app says.
It would be in line with Apple’s reputation as a “control enthusiast” to not want to depend on other services for its map data, and this purchase may help it accomplish that.