UK Satellite images in iOS 6 – One word. Rubbish.

I, like a lot of you lovely intelligent people, live in the UK. Unfortunately, after watching TV ads showing cool new phone features, we can find that things don’t work quite so well here in Blighty.

Mapping on the iPhone and iPad has changed in iOS 6. Most of us will have no doubt used Google Maps on the iPhone or iPad, which offers a pretty good satellite image of your home. Sure, you may have even used Bing Maps elsewhere. This can, in certain instances, provide even better aerial images.

However, a reader has sent in this comparison shot following his upgrade to iOS 6 and the addition of the new Maps App. On the left, Google Maps. On the right, the same location in iOS Maps here in the UK.

UK Satellite images in iOS 6   One word. Rubbish.

It’s safe to say that things are.. oooh, how shall I put this. A bit “grainy”. Some sections are even black and white (yes indeed – hello 1922), and low-resolution blocks seem to be pretty commonplace. It’s only when you hit major cities that things get a tiny bit better, but for the majority of the UK it’s pretty pants really (technical term).

The Apple forums have already lit up about this, and there’s more comparison shots so you can judge for yourself…

UK Satellite images in iOS 6   One word. Rubbish.

Here’s Sir Jonathan Ive’s old school – Walton High in Stafford. Jonathan, just in case you didn’t know, is the senior designer at Apple and is the guy behind the design of the iPod, iPod touch, iPhone, iPad and many other Apple products. First, the satellite image in Google Maps…

UK Satellite images in iOS 6   One word. Rubbish.

..and here’s the satellite image in iOS which, by the way, we couldn’t find by name. Instead the app decided to bring this up instead, which isn’t even the right country.

UK Satellite images in iOS 6   One word. Rubbish.

The 3D setting should offer some enhanced city images, but here’s one we’ve had sent in by WeirdHK and this isn’t even in the UK – this is the Apple store in Hong Kong…

UK Satellite images in iOS 6   One word. Rubbish.

Back here in the UK, major cities look OK in 3D. Here’s the Google 3D map of Birmingham…

UK Satellite images in iOS 6   One word. Rubbish.

..and here’s the iOS 6 Maps version. Pretty good huh ?

UK Satellite images in iOS 6   One word. Rubbish.

But, for those of us emailing me saying, “It’s just load on their servers”, here’s what happens when you step outside of the high-detail areas…

UK Satellite images in iOS 6   One word. Rubbish.

So currently it looks like there’s a LOT of work to do to get these maps looking better. We’re told that map information is provided by major companies and yes, the regular “map views” are tip-top. However, the satellite images are below standard currently.

Update – There’s now a tumblr website showing more of the differences between Google Maps and iOS 6 Maps.

Link – Apple forums
Credit – Ant

Editors note – We’re happy to see that, despite not mentioning us, other sites have picked up on this story now, and they seem to like the way our article was written.

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  • Is there an App for that?

    • Audicy

      Yes, it’s called GOOGLE MAPS!

  • Bob

    oh dear, what a shame…. never mind..

  • Gears – See PocketGPS’s recent vids on how Tomtom do maps including their 3D mapping tech ( used in mines etc iirc too )…. I guess when they EVENTUALLY drive around every where we may get better maps as they are no suppling IOS….

  • Anonymous

    My house just falls of the 3D maps in the last photo. You think that is all, when I try to navigate home it sends me to a location 6 miles out. I found it was a street with the same name as mine. So instead I tried a postcode, sends me to the same location 6 miles out. Dudley appears in Hagley and the University of Birmingham for some reason the POI is located in Lancaster.

    • StourWolf

      Jeez, don’t tell the people of Hagley that!!!

  • iPhone Fan

    I updated my iPhone 4S this morning and gave the maps app a try whilst walking the kids to school this morning. I live in a small town in Bedfordshire and the satellite images are just as good as Google Maps. I’d also say that the speed it renders the maps is noticeably quicker than before. No 3D maps are available where I live but I wouldn’t expect this – I was however disappointed that where I work in London (just outside the city) is not covered by the 3D maps and that only a relatively small area of London is covered. It’s also a shame that Google Street View (or a version of this) isn’t included as 3D maps isn’t going to help me find exactly where somewhere is before I visit.

  • Matthew

    Apple Maps is piss poor. When I look at my house I get a choice of a satellite view obstructed by cloud, or a pixellated mess. I’m using Google Maps via Safari.

  • Bogstomper

    Interesting views Leigh – while I think the OS6 upgrade is generally good I have a call into Apple support because since I upgraded last night it can’t hold a connection to my wireless router at home – I can connect but as soon as I leave the wifi settings it drops onto 3G and tries to connect me to a web login page. Is anyone else experiencing issues since upgrading?

  • bobby

    Apple Maps is very poor in comparison to google maps. The worst thing is that there are no public transport options on there – this is something I used a lot on google maps in London. No street view either. I really hope google release the stand alone app very soon.

  • It’s utter rubbish…..On the satelite image, Colchester is now under a mass white cloud so you can see absolutely nothing….towns are not differentiated by the font size etc and towns/villages are omitted until you zoom in close… that time you are unsure as to where you are in relation to the surrounding area. The quality is also utter rubbish and I already miss Street View…. I have a feeling this is a wrong decision for Apple.

    • TractorMike

      A mass of cloud over Colchester? Sounds like progress to me

  • Rayhan

    Why the hell did I update to ISO 6 if Steve jobs was alive today he would turn in his grave, apples maps what a load of crap. Who are they trying to fool, and where da hells YouTube !!!! I want to go to iso 5 time to jail break ! get rid of the CEOs at apple… Steve you need to com back and make good new apple iPhone what a disappointment ! com on people speak up !!