Google Maps & Apple Maps Comparison

Justin O’Beirne has released Part 1 of a detailed analysis of the differences between Apple Maps and Google Maps. Part 1 goes into detail comparing the differences between the two at various zoom levels looking at differences in road labels, city labels, etc.

I’m a bit of a cartography nerd so enjoyed this a lot, O’Beirne makes some interesting observations. He seems puzzled however by some of the omissions made, such as how few cities are shown at various levels on Google maps.

What a difference! Apple is showing way more cities than Google. It’s not even close. (Here, Apple labels 44 cities, while Google labels just 10.)

I wonder why Google doesn’t label more cities here?

To me the answer is quite simple, Google maps (and perhaps to a lesser extent Apple Maps) is first and foremost a search tool. Most people using it will search for an address and then view that address on the map. The visual presentation at various zoom levels, particularly higher up, is secondary to their needs. They want an address, they type it in and they see it – search speed and visual clarity are top priority, visual detail less so.