See your house on Apple Maps: New, more detailed service launches in Australia

Two years ago, Apple started driving cars around the streets of Australia, recording images and three-dimensional data to capture every tree, building and street marking possible.

Today, the hundreds of thousands of kilometres of roads across Australia are represented in a new level of detail within Apple Maps, allowing for more detailed navigation and exploration of our biggest cities and smallest towns.

Just like their physical products, Apple takes the quality of their software pretty seriously with a goal to be seen as the "world's best map".

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The company has a lot of ground to make up against market leader Google, with the Google Map product a default choice for many because of its detail, aerial and street-level imagery.

Today, Apple Maps ticks all those boxes and then some, adding new features to make that navigation and exploration a much richer experience.

Until now, 3D representations of buildings on the maps have been limited to just our major cities, and within that just the core central business district; even then, Sydney was the only place on the map in Australia where buildings appeared in the 3D mode.

Brisbane's riverfront CBD was just a flat blank and left wanting.

Using data and imagery obtained from cars driving every single road in Australia, along with aerial photography and mapping, even the smallest towns have 3D blocks in the location of every building, while our biggest cities have skyscrapers represented directly on the map.

But it goes further: Apple designers have hand-drawn 45 structures across Australia.

From sports stadiums to Parliament House, these meticulously created 3D models are not computer-generated, as Apple's David Dorn told 9News in an exclusive interview today.

"I can tell you these are hand-drawn models," he said.

"So it's not something that happens in a matter of hours.

"This takes somebody time to represent that model as accurately and as beautifully as we do."

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The level of detail on the new Apple Maps is remarkable, with even golf course fairways represented in greater detail.

"It's a combination of everything from satellite imagery to planes that we fly that are capturing land cover levels of detail," Mr Dorn, who leads the product team for Apple Maps, said.

"There's a whole bunch of magic that we use with machine learning, AI and real-world capture of images to convert those from what is an image of that place into a rendering inside of our map that shows it in the form factor that we presented.

"We're using a whole lot of levels of data capture in order to be able to do that."

Aside from a much better-looking map, there is improved navigation, including natural language guidance.

Instead of being told to "turn right in 500 metres", you might hear the instruction to "turn right at the next traffic lights" or "stop sign".

On-screen speed zone information should help you stay within the legal limit too!

If you're navigating to a mate's house, and want them to know when you'll be there, you can share your ETA via messenger, which means they can see where you are and when you'll arrive.

It's controlled with Apple's privacy-first mentality, ensuring that they can't track you outside of your shared journey.

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For those who like to jump into a map to plan a journey, look at their destination and want to really understand a location, you might have used Google's Street View – the images that look like they were taken standing on the street.

Well, after two years of driving around capturing those images, Apple's "Look Around" is finally launching today in Australia.

With every single road covered, you'll be able to see where it is you're going and work out how to get there.

Just like Google's Street View, Apple Maps Look Around ticks the privacy boxes.

"Just as we protect our users' privacy, for those who are using the product, we have gone to great effort to make sure that we blur out all kinds of personally identifiable information," Mr Dorn explained.

And there's a number of things.

It's not just somebody's face, it's licence plate information and anything that we believe could be identified so that somebody would be known or an object that would have personal identification information could be shown to an end-user.

For those who are sensitive about their home, their location or anything else, Apple's system allows for any problems to be reported, Mr Dorn said.

"We have gone to a great deal of effort to make sure that it is blurred properly," he said.

"Anybody who has a problem, we have a report and issue process that they can contact Apple and they can let us know.

"And we address all of those very seriously.

"If there is something that for whatever reason has gotten through our process, which we haven't seen yet, but it could happen, we want to address that and we take it very seriously."

If you check out the map today and missed your chance to stand out the front of your house and wave, don't expect a car to drive by soon, they're done here – but they will be back.

"So we will have our cars out there again, they will be driving periodically because we've got to make sure we capture anything that is new, or that is changed," he said.

"You can count on the fact that we'll be out there on a regular basis, making sure we've got everything up to date as much as possible."

The all-new Apple Maps rolls out today, across all Apple devices from Mac, to iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch.

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