Justin O'Beirne

Justin O'Beirne of San Francisco, California. Essays, projects, and contact information.



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How Often do Google & Apple Label the Same Places?

It’s a super interesting question: how often are the pairs of maps labeling the same places (e.g., the exact same businesses, the exact same landmarks, the exact same parks, etc.)?

For example, take these New York maps at z14:

There are just 5 places that are labeled on both maps: Times Square, Bryant Park, Grand Central Terminal, the Empire State Building, and the Flatiron Building.

But Google is actually labeling 24 places in total, while Apple is labeling 16:

That means that out of a combined total of 35 unique places on both maps, the two maps have only 5 places in common.

That’s really surprising.

But is it the same for all zooms?

Let’s take all of our map pairs and count the number of place labels that both maps have in common:

Now, let’s take those totals and divide them by the total number of unique places on both maps, and see what kind of percentages we get:

Those percentages are really low. 

Let’s average them across each city:

Wow. In New York, both maps have only 10% percent of their place labels in common! And in London, it’s just 12%!

So, “How often were the same places shown on both maps?”

Not often at all.

And once again, we see two very different maps.


*   *   *


So the maps don’t seem to label the exact same places. But do they generally show the same kinds of places?

Let’s look at that next…


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