Apple acquires HopStop and Locationary: “Mapping” it’s way out of the maps issue?


Apple-HopstopApple and Maps! Well, it surely doesn’t bring nice memories with the way Apple Inc handled the roll out of Apple Maps few months ago. But since then, they have been trying to plug the holes and get seriously about being a competitor to Google Maps and Bing Maps! Have they been successful? If not, what do they need to do?

One of the experts who knew what needed to be done by Apple Inc to fix their Map woes penned an article titled “5 Big Map App Issues that Apple must solve“. Wondering who that expert was? The CEO and Founder of Locationary – a crowd sourced location based listing database. A year later after Grant Ritchie, CEO and Founder, Locationary penned that article, the company was acquired by Apple (few days back)! Looks like someone at Apple reads their news 😉

They didn’t stop there, today Apple announced the acquisition of  another “mapping/location” company HopStop; an online transit – navigation app.

What does these acquisitions mean for Apple? and more importantly is it going to improve Apple Maps?

I believe so and here’s why.

Locationary basically is in the spot light because of their data exchange and management platform – Saturn. Saturn can be used to collect, merge and verify listing of all local businesses and points of interest. Pretty much like the Yellow Pages, expect that it is better like  and more importantly the online spatial version of it. Saturn is going to make sure that the next time you search for “Chinese Restaurant, Gandhi Road” Apple Maps is not going to show the one that’s geographically miles away from where you intended to look. More importantly, Saturn and Locationary can help ensure that the listing is not only spatially accurate but also temporally i.e. the restaurant is still active and open for business.

Fix 1: Get Location Data that’s accurate. Check!

HopStop provides a cool and green way of traveling by using the public transportation system. HopStop has over a million monthly active users around the world that use HopStop to plan their navigation using the public transit. In fact, HopStop also provides users Biking, Walking and taxi options. Apple will get a navigation make-over by incorporating HopStop into their navigation algorithm/platform. Fundamentally this solves the Apple’s Map need for a navigation algorithm that uses data (accurate data) from public transit systems.

Fix 2: Navigation and public transit. Check!

Apple Maps still has some distance to cover before it can redeem itself but if the acquisition of Locationary and HopStop are an indicator of what’s in store, then I’m sure they can go the distance! Bottom line, Apple acquires HopStop and Locationary – way to go!

I am one of those passionate "Geo-geeks" and "Geo-people" who is just too excited about everything Geo and Management. Location information and spatial technologies are just too big to take a back seat and watch them revolutionize the world. Always curious and looking for ways to innovate, I guess that it comes naturally by the gene pool I inherited from an engineer Mom and a researcher Dad.


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