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Apple acquires 3D mapping company, C3 Technologies?

According to Mark Gurman over at 9to5Mac, Apple has acquired a third mapping company, this time 3D specialists C3 Technologies.

Sources say that C3 Technologies CEO Mattias Astrom , C3 Technologies CFO Kjell Cederstrand, and lead C3 Technologies Product Manager Ludvig Emgard are now working within Apple’s iOS division. The leading trio, along with most of the former C3 Technologies team, is still working as a team in Sweden (interestingly, the division is now called “Sputnik”), where the C3 Technologies company was located prior to the Apple acquisition.

They specialize in making 3D maps from photo data using declassified missile-targeting technology. Apple previously bought map data companies PlaceBase and Poly9, and while they still rely on Google for the actual maps in OS X and iOS, it’s not hard to imagine some fantastic new Map app just may be in our future.


Here’s a video showing how C3 works.

Source; 9to5Mac


If Apple is able to implement this tech into a homegrown Maps application, it would blow the current Google Maps app out of the water. The applications for 3D mapping at this level of detail go beyond its obvious utility as a navigation aid — if third-party app developers were granted access to the Maps APIs, it could be a huge boon to Game developers.

Evidence has been mounting for years that Apple is moving away from its dependence on Google for several internet services, presumably because the two companies now find themselves in the paradoxical situation of being direct competitors as well as partners. Apple has already branched out to Yahoo! and Bing for web searches (although Google remains the default), and Siri does an end run around Google for many of its search functions. If Apple can have this mapping technology available in time for iOS 6’s release (presumably coming sometime in 2012), Apple may be able to extricate itself from Google Maps once and for all.

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