Apple Maps Patent

Apple’s Interactive map will feature overlay

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s patent for an improved maps application was recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. This “Interactive Map” application is an electronic map which displays several layers of various information with highlighted landmarks and more.

Users can overlay certain types of information on the map by selecting more specific categories. These layers would be derived from other mapping services as well as third-party websites on the internet. Users can choose to see highways, retail stores, city parks, airports, even weather. Users can view these separately or all together in a composite view. What really sets this possible patent apart is that it allows users to fine-tune their views to make it easier to separate similar things likes major highways and side streets on different layers.

Description of patent

The patent goes more into a technical description:

“To accommodate the large amount of information that can be potentially displayed on an electronic device, some embodiments of the invention provide a map that has an interactive capability that enables a user to dynamically adjust the displayed content. In some embodiments, different viewing modes can be chosen to emphasize map features that are relevant to a particular interest, e.g. commuting, tourism, outdoor recreation, weather, shopping, and the like. Other map features that are not pertinent to that particular interest can be deemphasized, or hidden from view. A user preference item enables the user to select two or more modes for simultaneous viewing on the map, e.g. weather and outdoor recreation. Customized map views created in this manner can be saved, and shared with other users. If a user conducts a search while in a particular viewing mode, the search results can be filtered in accordance with attributes of that viewing mode. For example, a search for “food” conducted while the map is in a tourist view might present the results with priority given to restaurants in the vicinity of the user, while the same search conducted in the outdoor recreation view might prioritize according to stores that sell food for campers.”

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s possible patent application is different from other map applications. It could be just the thing to give them a much-needed boost in competition.