Apple employee spotted walking streets wearing giant backpack with sensors

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Apple Maps
Google has been doing this for years.
Photo: Dante Cesa

Apple’s mapping fleet is moving on two feet to get a closer look at your local streets.

We’ve seen Apple’s mapping vans roaming the U.S. for years now, but this week an Apple employee was spotted walking around San Francisco with a huge backpack that packed a bunch of sensors to gather data for the Apple Maps revamp.

Check out the setup:

Dante Cesa alerted Macrumors to the Apple Maps backpack man this afternoon. This is the first time Apple’s mapping sensors have been seen on foot.

Apple recently came out with the second version of its mapping vehicles. People in Los Angeles saw the new Subaru SUVs roaming in the area recently and they’re sporting a new array of sensors that look like they’re stored in a giant honeycomb on top of the car.

Collecting data on foot should help Apple get better info for pedestrians and transit info. Apple Maps got a bunch of new features with iOS 12 changes including more data for foliage, building shapes, parking lots and walkways.

The entire rebuild of Apple Maps will likely include years of improvements as Apple keeps gathering more data. Before iOS 12, Apple Maps used some data that was sourced through third-parties. Now Apple is taking all data collection duties upon itself, which will hopefully finally give Google Maps some competition.