This cartographer’s deep dive into Google Maps is fascinating
Google Maps is more powerful than you know
Most people who use Google Maps do so without much attention to detail. We just need the directions, the right subway route, or the name of that good sushi place. We don’t spend too much time pondering how Google got so good at mapping the world, and what decisions and choices were made along the way that have made it the go-to navigational tool of our time.
Justin O’Beirne pays attention to these types of details. He’s a cartographer who helped contribute to Apple Maps. So we should trust him when he explains — in depth — about what makes Google Maps so superior to any other mapping service.
This week, he published a fascinating essay that explains the concept of the “Google Maps’ Moat.” By this, he means the layers of data surrounding Google Maps that basically makes it basically impossible for Apple or any competitor to ever catch up. “Google has gathered so much data, in so many areas, that it’s now crunching it together and creating features that Apple can’t make — surrounding Google Maps with a moat of time,” he writes. “It makes you wonder how long back Google was planning all of this—and what it’s planning next…”