Business Transportation

Apple, Google Mapping Vehicles On Roads Of Bucks County

An Apple Maps vehicle parked at Levittown Lake in Tullytown earlier this month.
Credit: Jay Kish

Crews from Apple and Google has been making their way around Bucks County over the past few weeks.

Several readers have spotted the white Ford Transit van used by Apple Maps in recent weeks and a reader said the vehicle was also spotted along the Newtown Bypass earlier this month. A reporter from this news organization also has spotted the van driving along area roads on two occasions last week.

Apple confirmed that it was gathering data for its mapping system across the nation, including Bucks County and the Trenton and Philadelphia areas. The company said the data will be used to update Apple Maps.

Google officials said their crews have been working in Bucks County and the surrounding areas to collect mapping data since July and will wrap up next month.

Apple insider website Cult Of Mac reported last year that the vans are likely gathering map data and information for future systems that will guide self-driving vehicles.

Following Google’s approach, Apple said it will blur faces and license plates on images collected before they are published.

Mashable noted earlier this year that Apple’s mapping vehicles have GPS equipment, wide-angle cameras and LIDAR system, which measures distance to form 3D data using a pulsing laser.

Google most recently updated a large bulk of street-level images on its Google Street View platform several years back but is constantly updating their collection. However, Apple has yet to release information on when the data being collected locally will be made public.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for five years for both newspaper and online publications. In 2012, Tom was honored at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards for his coverage of President Obama's visit to Falls Township in 2011. When he's not covering news in the area, Tom enjoys checking out the newest restaurants and bars, exploring forgotten places of industry in the area, going to local parks and spending time with his friends and family. If there's one thing you should know about Tom, he is a local news junkie through and through. Email: Phone: 215-431-1001