Apple launches Panorama service

Author: Marcus Schilling
Date: 24.07.2019

“Look Around” based on the model of Google Street View

Apple competes with Google Street View and introduces its own panorama service “Look Around”. At the beginning of next week, photos will also be taken on German streets. Nearly 80 camera cars will supply the map service until mid-September. At the same time, the map material will be optimized.

The Tech Group website provides information on the areas where the vehicles will be driven. In Europe, the camera cars have already been in Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia and Slovenia. Before Apple can start in Germany, talks were held with the Bavarian data protection officer. The recordings of the vehicles are uploaded to Apple’s server in the USA.

Look Around offers users the opportunity to move around in three-dimensional visualizations of street sections. The service will initially be available in selected areas such as San Francisco and the surrounding area in fall. Users can request the removal of images of people or houses. Faces and license plates are automatically obscured.

Through the photos of the vehicles, Apple can gain information about the names of streets or shops, as well as traffic signs and road guidance. In addition to cameras, the photo cars are equipped with laser radars that perceive the surroundings in 3D and record the location via GPS. The so-called “lidar” devices can often be found in self-propelled cars.

According to Apple, this is the only data that is collected. Google, on the other hand, wanted the camera cars to have more precise orientation and also identify the signal strengths of Wi-Fi networks. At the same time, however, fragments of unencrypted WLAN transmissions were recorded, as Hamburg data protection officer Johannes Caspar pointed out. Google described this as a mistake.