Map

How to Enable the Compass in Apple Maps

It’s incredibly useful to see both a map and a compass at the same time, but Apple Maps doesn’t display both by default. With a quick tweak, we can fix that, and put the two tools in the same place at the same time.

The compass function has been built into the iPhone since the release of the iPhone 3G in 2009, and Apple Maps has been around since 2012. Yet mysteriously, the compass function isn’t on by default in Maps—despite the clear utility of it. Thankfully, it’s really easy to turn it on an fix that little oversight. Grab your iPhone and open up the Settings app, then scroll down to, you guessed it, the entry for Maps.

How to Make Maps and Graphs Colorblind People Can Actually Read

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Good design is design that can serve all users, regardless of their differences. It is sometimes difficult, however, for designers to remember or imagine that some physical, mental, or environmental conditions may prevent individuals from using a product the way it was intended.

Think about maps, for example. Cartographers rely on colors and symbols as ways to relay information efficiently. However, people who have color-vision deficiencies may not be able to discern between the colors outlining separate geographical areas, which will render the map useless to them. But it’s not just maps, many everyday objects can prove difficult for color-blind people, from traffic lights to pairing the same color socks.

Color blindness, which is not a form of blindness but a deficiency that affects the perception of color, is relatively common. The red-green type, which makes it difficult for individuals to distinguish between shades of red, yellow, and green, is the most prevalent affecting about 1 in 12 males and 1 in 200 females. It is inherited through a gene on the X chromosome, which is why in women, a defect in one X chromosome can be compensated for by the other. Other forms of color deficiency, like the blue-yellow presentation and blue cone monochromancy are much rarer.

Examples of test plates from the Ishihara test, which is used to diagnose red-green color deficiencies. On the left plate, the number “74” should be clearly visible to viewers with normal color vision, while viewers with some color deficiencies may read it as “21”, or may see nothing. On the right plate, viewers with normal color vision should see nothing, while red-green deficiency sees 2. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

So, what can designers and developers do to make their products…

Google Street View can now extract street names, numbers, and businesses to keep Maps up-to-date

Google has revealed that it’s combining new deep learning smarts with Street View to make it easier to automate the process of mapping new addresses for Google Maps.

Anyone living in a town or major conurbation will likely have seen Google’s Street View cars, replete with 360-degree camera, traversing thoroughfares over the past few years to capture everything from shop facades and monuments to parks and alleyways. While the camera collects imagery of the real word to complement Google Maps, it’s also possible to extract additional information from the photos — including street numbers and names — to improve the data available in Google Maps.

However, numerous factors — such as lighting, angles, distortions, or cluttered backgrounds — can make it difficult for a machine to properly identify names and numbers.

Above: Examples of challenging signs captured by Street View

Google has dabbled with a number of methodologies over the years to help improve data captured from Street View imagery, including ReCAPTCHA, which involves human crowdsourcing to help identify the content of…

Interactive Map of San Francisco Matches Photos From the 1906 Earthquake to Modern Places

For modern San Franciscans, it can be hard to connect their dots between the city as they know it and the aftermath of the April 19, 1906 earthquake that took 3000 lives and changed the face of the metropolis forever. Now, a new project aims to visualize that devastating chapter in history in a way current residents can wrap their heads around.

This interactive map from the Western Neighborhoods Project plots thousands of photographs of the 1906 quake. Using resources like the…