Maps may soon offer better visuals for multiple points-of-view

Future versions of Apple’s Maps may offer better visuals for multiple points-of-view. The tech giant has filed for a patent (number 10,170,084) for “graphical representation generation for multiple points of interest” (P-O-Is). 

In the patent filing, Apple notes that folks are increasingly relying on map information provided by map-based services and apps such as Maps to get from one location to another. A map-based app can enable a user to view maps of different regions. In some instances, map-based apps can provide turn-by-turn instructions to a destination location. 

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Various features provided by map-based apps can help a user navigate through unfamiliar territories. For instance, some map apps may identify street names or display visual blocks representing structural objects such as buildings or bridges in a three-dimensional view. What’s more, some map-based applications can display POIs to the user as part of the map information. 

Apple says that map info provided by map-based applications is useful in providing users with a comprehensive understanding of an area. Users can identify POIs and view information pertaining to those POIs using the map information presentable by map-based applications. However, as the amount of information gathered within a given radius increases, displaying the large amounts of map information on display screens with limited sizes makes finding a particular location difficult. 

The names of the POIs or their relevant information may be truncated to a degree such that the user can’t recognize the POI she’s seeking. In some cases not all of the POI icons representing POIs may be visible due to the limited size of the display screen relative to the amount of map information being displayed. The large number of POI icons may become densely packed in an area such that the POI icons may no longer be identifiable from each other. Apple wants to change this.

Here’s the summary of the invention: “A navigation application can generate and display a composite representation of multiple POIs when POI icons representing the POIs appear to be overlapping. Some embodiments display the composite representation when a certain zoom level is reached for a map including the multiple POI icons. 

“In some embodiments, the navigation application can determine POIs that may be of interest to the user based on the user's attributes and activity history and generate the composite representation based on those attributes. The composite representation can include multiple POI icons that are displayed adjacent to each other such that a user of the navigation application can readily identify POIs that are likely to be of interest to the user within a region.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.