The Return of Google Maps

You may – particularly if you’re a British landscape photographer – look at the screenshot below and wonder to yourself, there’s something familiar about that location, but there’s something different too.

You’d be correct on both counts. The boats on the beach of the harbour at Holy Island in Northumberland (already a familiar location to many) were the subject of a photo at the centre of a recent controversy. If you thought that the satellite map gives a particularly clear view of the individual boats, again, you’d be correct!

Holy Island Cobles

We’re pleased to say that we’ve been able to restore Google Maps to TPE on iOS 6.

As many of you know, with iOS 6, Google is no longer the default supplier of mapping data and imagery. However, using the Google Maps JavaScript API, we’ve been able to add Google maps back in as an option alongside Apple’s maps, Open Cycle Maps, MapQuest Open Street Map and Open Aerial.

A good number of you have been asking for this – particularly users in the UK, where, until recently Apple’s satellite imagery was in places very poor indeed. We should note that the Apple map imagery is today very much improved over what it was even a month ago, and we expect those improvements to continue. That said, Google Maps is hard to match when it comes to satellite imagery.

Google Terrain Maps

There’s an additional upside to the new web-based maps approach: we’re now able to offer Google Terrain maps in TPE for iOS, for both iOS 5 and iOS 6 users:

Elgol, Scotland

This is a huge benefit to landscape photographers as Google’s Terrain maps are beautifully detailed and shaded, as can be seen from the screenshot of the Isle of Skye, above.

Which Maps Can I Use?

With TPE for iOS 2.4, which we will be releasing early on Monday November 19, UK-time, iOS 6 users have the following map options:

  • Standard (Apple)
  • Satellite (Apple)
  • Hybrid (Apple)
  • Google Standard
  • Google Satellite
  • Google Hybrid
  • Google Terrain
  • OpenCycleMap Topographic †
  • MapQuest OpenStreetMap †
  • MapQuest OpenAerial †

† Available offline

iOS 5 users have the following options:

  • Standard (Google)
  • Satellite (Google)
  • Hybrid (Google)
  • Google Terrain
  • OpenCycleMap Topographic †
  • MapQuest OpenStreetMap †
  • MapQuest OpenAerial †

While we would love to be able to offer offline support for Google Maps this is expressly prohibited by their terms of use. For offline map use, you can choose from OpenCycleMap Topographic, OpenStreetMap and OpenAerial.

One important point, particularly worth making in light of the changes that occurred with iOS 6: all the map types available in TPE are subject to change. We rely upon services provided by third parties to make these maps available. Those third parties may withdraw or amend those services in the future. They may also change the legal or commercial terms and conditions in such a way that we are no longer able to offer the same maps.

Rest assured, we’ll always work to offer the best maps that we can, but remember – it’s the internet. Things change!

We Hope You Like It

We hope you enjoy having Google back in the mix on iOS 6!

(And if you left a negative review on account of the change to Apple maps in iOS 6, we’d love it if you would consider now revising it :-) )