Apple has acquired a 12-person startup that specializes in visualizations of location data, presumably in a move to help improve its own Maps app.
According to sources speaking to Re/Code, Apple paid “somewhere between $25 million and $30 million” for the small San Francisco company Mapsense. Apple declined to comment on precisely what its intentions were, but its safe to assume that the team will be working on Apple Maps in some regard.
The Mapsense website says that while “collecting location data has become mainstream,” most companies lack the proper tools to visualize and understand the data. It provides a platform to help make sense of such huge banks of information, and Apple could potentially use this expertise to help create its own maps, so as not to rely on partnerships with other services.
Over the last couple of years, Apple has also bought other companies to help with Maps – two years after acquiring public transit experts HopStop in 2013, public transit directions are finally available in iOS 9.