Apple buys GPS-company Coherent Navigation

Steven Loeb · May 18, 2015 · Short URL:

The purchase is Apple's latest in the maps division since launching Apple Maps

I was recently talking to someone about Apple Maps for the first time in... I can't even remember how long. Back when Apple dropped Google integration for its maps a few years ago, I hated it so much (not only didn't the app have public transportation directions, but it also couldn't get my GPS location right) that I downloaded the Google Maps app as soon as I could and never looked back. In fact, I kind of forgot that Apple Maps even existed.

Since I don't use the app I can't say for certain, but I imagine that Apple has fixed at least some of the issues that plagued it at the time. Since 2012, the company has made a series of purchases designed to bring it up to speed.

The most recent acquisition for its maps division is GPS-company Coherent Navigation, according to a report from MacRumors on Sunday.

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” the company told the New York Times, giving its typical non-answer to these types of questions. Despite Apple's cagey response, though, there is ample evidence that this purchase has indeed taken place.

On his LinkedIn account, Coherent Navigation CEO Paul Lego how lists his job as " Maps at Apple." in co-founders William Bencze and Brett Ledvina now also both list themselves as working on location technologies at the company. 

In addtion, as Venturebeat discovered, the company’s own LinkedIn page now says  that it has “ceased operations at this time,” and Coherent Navigation's website is also currently offline.

So, yeah, it was purchased by Apple. Of course, there are no disclosed financial details, and it is unclear exactly how many of Coherent Navigation's team are now working at Apple. VatorNews has reached out to Apple for more information on the purchase and we will update this story if we learn more. 

According to MacRumors, Coherent Navigation was working on something called High Integrity GPS, or "iGPS," which it describes as "a system that combines signals from the traditional mid-earth orbit GPS satellites with those from the low-earth satellites of voice and data provider Iridium to offer greater accuracy and precision, higher signal integrity, and greater jam resistance."

Basically, this type of GPS is really good at pinpointing coordinates, which would definitely help with some of the issues I was having with the Apple Maps app (say that 10 times fast!) when it first came on the scene.

As I mentioned earlier, Coherent Navigation marks just the latest location-based purchase for Apple.

Most notably it acquired HopStop, a company that makes apps for door-to-door transit in major cities, includsing London, Los Angeles, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland and San Francisco.

Apple also purchased Locationary, a company that is designed to help businesses manage their local data through an online platform, and then bought Embark, a company with a similar function to HopStop.

Other acquisitions in this space include mapping firm BroadMap and social maps app Spotsetter.

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