One of the the things that has me baffled is TomTom has had GPS devices in the market(s) for years (US and overseas). I cannot imagine that there are this many errors in their data base, as that would have been common knowledge long ago. TomTom is one of the big 3 GPS companies, they've become a good competitor to Garmin, who used to own the market. If Apple is really using TomTom as the primary map database, why suddenly all the errors ?. Or is there something else going on ?. Mapping errors are one thing. Search engine based errors are another (that's Yelp ?). We seem to be seeing errors in both.
The prevailing theory seems to be that Apple just hasn't managed to input all the data from their various sources just yet. It seems that map data comes in all different formats, be it from TT, Yelp, Open Table, Open Street Map etc., etc. There has to be some sort of conversion done for the data to be correctly represented.Apparently, even data from the same source frequently needs different conversion processes. Basically, the data has to be massaged, and that's a tedious process. Regardless, whether Apple maps was released this year, or the next, or the year after that, at launch it was never going to be as Google maps. There's a large crowdsourcing aspect to maps, and you don't get that until you launch the product and go through some growing pains. That said, I believe if Apple wants to remain competitive in this arena, they need to devote more resources to it. Flyover is nice and it's pretty, but it's nowhere near as useful as Streetview. Apple should seriously consider doing what Google did, send out thousands of employees with cars and cameras to create their own version of Streetview.
I have to admit, until recently, I never really gave much thought to maps. It was just there and when I needed it, I used it. When I was driving, I used a Garmin because neither my iPhone or iPad had turn-by-turn directions. I rarely used public transit, and when I did, I used public transit apps, not Google maps because I could see the route. I now realize maps is must have feature in a smartphone. What I use it for presently is very basic, but I can easily envision developments in the very near future that will make much more use of maps. Geofencing is already here, and it's only a matter of time before it becomes even more prevalent as developers create more and more interesting ways to use it. At present, it seems my Starbucks card will automatically pop up onto the lockscreen when I enter one, that's actually a silly feature for now, but I can easily see that grow to being something very powerful as more companies sign up for Passbook. I think Apple breaking with Google on maps is a positive thing. Surely there are growing pains, but once things get better, it will provide much more functionality than ever before, since Google will no longer be able constrain what is possible on iOS in favor of Android.