Apple patent animated Maps drawing 001

Three-dimensional Flyover aerial photography in Apple Maps is cool, but wouldn’t it be great if things like water, foliage and other dynamic objects were animated based on touch, motion and sound?

That’s exactly what Apple appears to be researching if a new patent application uncovered by AppleInsider is indicative of future Apple Maps features. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday awarded the iPhone maker a new patent on “Non-static 3D map views.”

First filed for in March 2013, the patent outlines animating a three-dimensional map by using a set of camera-captured images that correspond to a portion of the 3D map. An image processing module would then render the assets and animate specific map elements such as water ripples, realtime reflections and more.

Assigning animation assets to specific map elements would come with the added benefit of letting users trigger them by touching on-screen objects. In other embodiments, Apple proposes using the iPhone’s sensors to create dynamic animations.

Apple patent animated Maps drawing 004

For instance, panning the device around might invoke a rolling wave while a tap could cause ripples to radiate out from a user’s finger, AppleInsider explains.

“To enhance the illusion, water and other map assets can be animated based on motion, with waves forming when a user shifts an iPhone’s position, orientation or tilt,” reads the article.

In yet another embodiment, the company outlines interactive map assets that respond to sound captured by the iPhone’s microphone. All told, the company doesn’t shy away from detailing a richly animated Maps with graphics effects such as rippling water, swaying trees and leaves and more.

Apple patent animated Maps drawing 002

Many Apple patents are filed for as a way of protecting its intellectual property and never see the light of day. This particular patent, however, is unusually detailed so we fully expect to see a living, animated Apple Maps come to life on next-generation hardware.

Curiously enough, Apple is already experimenting with Maps animations.

For example, Apple Maps’ three-dimensional Flyover view now features fully animated segments for London’s Big Ben clock to show the correct local time and the popular London Eye, which can be seen rotating slowly in Flyover mode in the video below.

If you don’t see the embedded view, watch it on YouTube.

Earlier today, the Cupertino firm added a bunch of new cities, landmarks and locales to Apple Maps Flyovers in Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Mexico, the United States and other territories.

Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 9,147,286 credits engineers Patrick S. Piemonte, Erik Anders Mikael Adlers and Christopher Blumenberg as its investors.

Source: USPTO via AppleInsider

  • well that’ll just be cool.

  • Linton Findlay

    Isn’t many major features I can think of for iOS 10 that I would want, but little things like this are always welcome

    iOS 10 wish list
    QR mode
    One hand wizard
    Swipe over for 6s
    Status HUD and Status Peek

  • Seth

    Today I tested Apple Maps / Google Maps / and Waze to get me directions to my GF’s work. Waze took me the way I always go, which was 32 minutes. Google Maps kind of directed me the same way, which was 34 minutes. Apple Maps took me the way I would go if I was a tourist and didn’t know where I was going, this took 39 minutes.

    Instead of animating trees and Ferris wheels, Apple needs to invest their money and time making their routing for navigation smarter. CarPlay is being released this year on my car and I’m going to be stuck using Apple Maps for navigation, which offers the worst routing out of the three major GPS apps.

    • Rowan09

      I’ve done the same test and they are all usually the same. They have invested millions into maps and still doing so. You drove three different days or just input the address?

      • Seth

        I simply put my GF’s work address into my iPhone this morning to determine if Apple Maps had proper routing compared to the Google based apps. The route Apple Maps calculated was four minutes slower.

        About 50% of the addresses I’ve tried on Apple Maps took longer than on Google’s apps. If you want to try yourself, input 61 Kane Avenue (not my address but close!), Larchmont NY > Thornwood, NY. You’ll see that Apple Maps does the worst job out of the three most popular GPS apps.

        By all means, Apple Maps may work well in your area but for more complicated areas there are slight variations which can save you ten minutes or more per day. Apple Maps may get you there without problems, but it needs to get smarter instead of getting prettier.

      • Rowan09

        Ok it’s different if you actually drive due to it updating, etc. I’ve been lost with Google maps with outdated information, etc and Waze. While I will not say Apple is better currently than Google maps, it’s not that far behind. Apple actually purchased multiple companies for Transit info. I live in NY city and Google brought me places and Apple maps that I couldn’t find. When I use driving directions to get to a specific location, they all get me there within the same time and with IOS 9 maps got a lot better as well. Apple is not slacking off when it comes to making maps better, they’ve been working very hard at it.

      • Seth

        I’m sorry, but I do not have the same experience. The route I gave you as an example shows each app taking different routes. The route Apple chooses is longer and does not use well known shortcuts for my area, whereas Google’s apps utilize smart shortcuts. Did you not test what I provided?

        I know there are multiple companies that Apple uses to get their info, that wasn’t my point. The point was that I know the information you’re offering, but fail to agree that Apple is doing as good of a job as Google in mapping. I know what strides they are making, and they have made strides, but it’s simply not good enough for my everyday usage. They were late to the game and it shows. Google is no where near perfect, no mapping company is, but they’are apps are the most well rounded of the bunch.

        Lets agree to disagree. I would use Apple Maps every day if what you were saying is true, but my daily experience with these apps proves to me that Apple doesn’t do as good of a job routing as Google.

      • Rowan09

        Oh that’s fine I’m not trying to convince you but the overall app experience matters. Let’s take an example of how Apple included night mode while Google just recently thought it was necessary to add it. Apple is not only focused on minor additions because we’ve seen where maps came from to where it is now. I put in both addresses and they both took the I95 and the end address from Apple was 25 miles while Google brought me somewhere at 22 miles. Google will make it to it’s location in 33 minutes while Apple maps 39 but driving 3 miles more. This is the same experience I have in NYC, Pennsylvania, Upstate NY, etc, I end up with about the same times. Apple lags behind Google maps in 2 areas to me and that’s POI’s and they should allow people to avoid highways, parkways, etc. The transit directions on Apple maps is better than Google maps transit directions

  • very nice

  • Live surroundings in street view? That’ll be interesting but insignificant…

  • James

    one more thing to eat up battery life that provides no real benefit.