Apple looking to beef up Maps team with ‘Ground Truth’ managers

ground truth job listings

When Apple released iOS 6 last year, it replaced the long-running Google Maps app with its own in-house mapping software. And, as most of you know, it took a lot of criticism over the move due to its inaccurate map data, missing features and other issues.

It was so bad, in fact, that Tim Cook wrote an open letter to iOS users, promising Apple would work non-stop to make it better. And it has been. It’s already made several improvements to the app, and is in the middle of a big hiring push for its Maps team…

Just last month we spotted over 10 job listings on Apple’s website that called for iOS software engineers that would be working on the Maps app. And today, several more Maps listings have surfaced (at least 7), this time calling for ‘Maps Ground Truth’ managers.

What’s Ground Truth? Well a quick Wikipedia search tells us that it’s a term used in remote sensing, for collecting data on location and comparing it remote data like satellite imagery. So essentially, it’s just confirming that the stuff shown on satellite really exists.

Here’s the description from one of the listings:

The Maps team is searching for a manager for the team responsible for regional map quality and ground truth in the U.S.. Each of our regional teams is responsible for the quality of our maps in their region. This team’s responsibilities include:

-Testing new releases of map code and data around the U.S.

-Collecting ground truth data to allow for analysis of the impact of potential map code or data changes relative to known truth.

-Utilizing local expertise to provide feedback about U.S.-specific mapping details.

-Evaluating competing products in-region relative to our maps.

As the manager of this team, you will be expected to drive all of this team’s work, determine where and how to allocate resources, and clearly communicate test results and other feedback to teams in Cupertino. The U.S. regional team is also responsible for driving communication between engineering teams in Cupertino and our other regional teams, as well as evaluating new regional testing initiatives in close coordination with the rest of the Maps quality team before those initiatives are rolled out to the other regional teams.

It’s nice to see Apple working so diligently to correct its wrong. Earlier this month, it rolled out an update to the Maps app in Japan that improved turn-by-turn navigation. And it’s added 3D buildings and Flyover support to over 50 cities in the last few months.

Now that a lot of the kinks are being ironed out, it’ll be interesting to see what else Apple has planned for Maps. Keep in mind that it did just purchase WiFiSLAM, a company with technology for detecting a smartphone’s location indoors, using ambient Wi-Fi.

Our fingers are crossed that we hear something during WWDC, alongside iOS 7 and—if the rumors are true—new hardware announcements. The Developers Conference typically takes place during the second or third week in June, but there’s no official word yet.