Apple has today begun new ground surveys across various regions of the United Kingdom, including London, Manchester, and Birmingham, to gather pedestrian data for Apple Maps (via Bloomberg).

apple maps camera backpack

Apple will use cameras and sensors mounted on pedestrian backpacks to gather map data in Berkshire, Greater London, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, and the West Midlands, across over 85 specific towns and boroughs.

The new data gathering project seeks to improve ‌Apple Maps‌, including its 2D map information and the Look Around feature, which enables users to get a panoramic street-level view of a location. Apple will also gather data on areas such as parks, city squares, transit stations, and streets where it is not possible to drive cars with mounted sensors.

Apple has undertaken pedestrian surveys in the UK since 2019. As well as gathering new data, the new surveys offer an opportunity to revisit certain locations and re-collect data in an effort to maintain a high-quality, up-to-date map.

Apple affirmed that its data collection efforts will continue to protect people’s privacy, censoring faces and license plates on images published in Look Around, as well as additional censorship upon individual request. The surveys begin today and will run until May 20.

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