Apple Surveying Canada's Largest Cities With Specialized Backpacks to Improve Maps

Apple Maps team members wearing specialized camera-equipped backpacks will be walking in Canada's three largest cities of Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver through October to help improve the Apple Maps app.

apple maps camera backpack

Apple Maps backpack in Southern California as spotted by Joanna Stern

Apple typically drives a fleet of vehicles around the world to collect Maps data, including street-level imagery for its Look Around feature, but it conducts pedestrian surveys "in areas where vehicles simply can't go." Apple promises that the pedestrian surveys offer the "same privacy protections as the Apple Maps vehicles."

A list of locations maintained on Apple's website reveals that the company began the pedestrian surveys in Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver on September 11. Apple will also be surveying the Region of Durham immediately east of Toronto.

Apple says it is committed to protecting the public's privacy while conducting these surveys. In line with Google's Street View, Apple censors faces and license plates in imagery made available through its Look Around feature. If you have comments or questions about this process, your privacy rights, or would like to request that a face, license plate, or your own house be censored, Apple says to email mapsimagecollection@apple.com.

Introduced in iOS 13, Look Around provides 3D street-level imagery that can be zoomed and panned. The feature is already available in Canada, but Apple periodically revisits some locations "in an effort to maintain a high-quality, up-to-date map." Look Around is also available in parts of the United States, UK, Ireland, and Japan.

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
9 months ago
"How do we test our jetpack project in public without people noticing?"

"You know the 'Apple Maps' text we put on surveying cars?"



Attachment Image
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Expos of 1969 Avatar
9 months ago
That backpack is the item being tested. It will provide all day battery life when you are wearing the Apple Glasses.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robinp Avatar
9 months ago
Seen these around London (UK) a few times over the last year or so. Makes sense as there are lots of places where cars can't go, such as paths across parks, alleyways, pedestrianised areas etc.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fwmireault Avatar
9 months ago
The backpack looks like a giant MagSafe Battery pack
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnnyenv Avatar
9 months ago
Apple branded Ghostbusters Ecto Proton pack
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
orbital~debris Avatar
9 months ago
These will be Droids one day, walking around surveying, doing the heavy lifting.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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