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Apple Beefs Up Local Data Capabilities with Locationary



Saturn Locationary Home Page GraphicApple is coming up on an anniversary of sorts. It’s not something they would like to celebrate though. It’s the one year marker of the less than stellar roll out of Apple Maps which accompanied the iOS 6 to the market in September of last year.

Let’s just say it didn’t go well. Critics worldwide panned the product. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook issued a public apology. This is not the stuff of a Steve Jobs led Apple for sure.

Since that time Apple has been trying to right the wrong and have made strides. The latest, as reported by All Things D, is the purchase of Locationary. It’s interesting that these folks should land at Apple and John Paczkowski tells us why.

Last September Grant Ritchie, CEO of crowdsourced location data company Locationary, penned an article for TechCrunch describing five challenges Apple faces as it builds out its new mapping service. Ten months later he’s become part of the effort to overcome them.

Apple has acquired the Toronto-based Locationary, a small Canadian startup, backed by Extreme Venture Partners and Plazacorp Ventures. Multiple sources familiar with the deal tell AllThingsD it closed recently and includes Locationary’s technology and team, both.

Maybe writing an article outlining the troubles of a company’s offerings is the way to get attention. Seems to have worked for these guys.

So what does Locationary bring to the maps table for Apple?

Locationary is a sort of Wikipedia for local business listings. It uses crowdsourcing and a federated data exchange platform called Saturn to collect, merge and continuously verify a massive database of information on local businesses around the world, solving one of location’s biggest problems: out-of-date information.

Apple desperately wants iOs users to use Apple Maps and completely leave Google Maps even though the app for iOS is no longer native to iOS. That said many iOS users still turn to the Google Maps app to get their information, directions etc. The more people who leave the Apple ecosystem to get data the less people stay inside to buy services and products through Apple. Obviously that is not Apple’s end game.

So we will keep an eye on just how this acquisition improves the Apple Maps experience. The last thing Tim Cook wants to do come September of this year is to apologize again.