Apple Purchases Another 3D Mapping Company

Aside from small additions like displaying alternate routes and the Show Traffic option, the Maps application received little attention from Apple during the recent iOS update. Some pundits expected the app to at least receive turn-by-turn directions.

But a revamped Maps app might still be in Apple’s plans. 9to5Mac is reporting that Apple has just quietly acquired “mind-blowing 3D mapping company” C3 Technologies, and that the Cupertino company is looking to take iOS maps to the next level…

The news comes shortly after the company’s website went down in July of this year, spawning tons of speculation. An announcement was made that C3 had indeed been bought-out by a Western-world company, but nothing more was ever revealed.

You might recall that Apple has made similar purchases in the past. Last year the company acquired Poly9, another 3D mapping startup team. And the year before it scooped up Placebase, a firm known for its mapping software.

Just as Apple did with Siri, you can bet that we’ll see the work of these companies eventually make their way into iOS — which is exciting considering some of their talents. Here’s a video of C3 Technologies rendering New York City:


If you recognize C3’s work, it’s because it powers Nokia’s popular Ovi Maps. The Finnish handset maker has been praised for its high-powered 3D mapping software. It’ll be interesting to see how their relationship continues post-Apple acquisition.

With three strong mapping firms now in its stable, Apple is definitely setting the stage for something major. As 9to5Mac points out, Apple doesn’t scoop up companies nearly as often as its competitors. But when it does, it has a specific goal for them in mind.