Justin O'Beirne

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



In Part 2, we continued looking at the same 54 pairs of maps of New York, San Francisco, and London, this time focusing on the Map as Whole. We found that...




Google Maps and Apple Maps label very different things. On average, the two maps have only 24% of their labels in common at a given zoom. Surprisingly, the maps are most similar at their earliest zoom-levels, where they have the greatest optionality in labeling choices.




Out of everything labeled on both maps, Google Maps and Apple Maps are most likely to label the same countries and least likely to label the same areas within cities (i.e., districts, neighborhoods, boroughs, etc.). On average, the maps have only 30% of their city labels in common and just 21% of their road labels.




Overall, Google Maps and Apple Maps generally have a similar number of labels. Across the 54 map pairs, Google averages 28.2 labels per map, while Apple averages 26.8 per map—a difference of just 1.4 labels.




Despite having a similar number of labels overallthere are significant label count variations between the maps at many zoom-levels. And the zoom with the most labels is noticeably later on Google than on Apple.




The large variations in label counts at many zooms are the result of prioritization differences between the two maps: Google labels roads more often and for more zooms than anything else on its maps. Apple labels cities more often and for more zooms than anything else.




At the most zoomed in and zoomed out zoom-levels, Google Maps is more detailed than Apple Maps.



Introduction · Part 1 · Part 2 · Interlude · Part 3