Apple Maps Enhances Japanese Station Info as Transit Rollout Nears

Apple Maps greatly enhanced station footprint information for major Tokyo stations today as the iOS 10 public transit rollout for Japan approaches. A few hours ago Shinjuku station appeared in the iOS 10 beta like this:
Shinjuku iOS 10

Now it looks like this:

Shinjuku Station 8-25 crop

The updated Shinjuku map displays platform detail for JR, Keio, Odakyu lines in dark blue and is much easier to understand. The station structure in light blue is much more accurate. The biggest change is the addition of indoor mapping: the underground maze of passageways, shopping arcades and subway lines that is Shinjuku, is all there. Exit information has not been added yet but if this update is any indication, changes will probably come gradually instead of one big update.

I have heard from a source that Apple is doing all the indoor mapping themselves as there is no data supplier available and major Japanese stations are the most complex indoor mapping challenges on the planet.

This update only appears to be for major stations with more than one train line but the overall picture is much closer to Apple’s preview image. Lower tier stations are still waiting for enhanced footprints and exit information. Other Japanese cities such as Osaka and Nagoya also have enhanced station footprints and indoor mapping for major stations.

To see the map additions in full glory you have to use the iOS 10 and MacOS Sierra betas. iOS 9 and El Capitan display the new station footprints but not indoor mapping.

With less than a month to go before the expected iOS 10 release and concurrent Japanese public transit rollout, the Apple Maps team will certainly be busy updating Japanese map data in the weeks to come.

Update 1: Blue building outlines are also showing up on iOS 10/macOS Sierra maps when zoomed in. It’s hard to know if this is a new map feature connected with indoor mapping as they are local only to enhanced stations and indoor mapped areas. My guess is it might have something to do with underground mapped areas.


Update 2: Close examination of Apple’s Japan public transit preview image (below) suggests the blue building outlines are structure and buildings directly connected, or part of, the public transit infrastructure locale. The preview shows Shinjuku station with blue outlines that help define the different parts that make up Shinjuku station. This is not in the current iOS 10/Sierra beta version and will likely be updated as the map team finishes up the public transit preparations.

スクリーンショット 2016-07-02 11.28.58