Apple's release of iOS6 today will provide a particular treat to owners of iPhone 4S and 5, 3rd generation iPad, and 5th generation iPod touch: on Apple's new Maps app, central Toronto can be viewed in 3D from any direction.
The area currently found in 3D is bounded by Strachan Ave., Queen, Spadina, Lowther, Avenue Rd, Davenport, Belmont, Aylmer, Rosedale Valley Rd, Parliament St, Queen, River St, Eastern Ave bridges, the Don Valley Pkwy, Don Roadway, the Keating Channel, and back across the Lake Ontario shoreline to Strachan again. Every building within that polygon, every tree, every monument, every street hot dog vendor, and most parked vehicles have been photographed from multiple angles and mapped onto splines. Trees often come out strangely, especially those planted in sidewalks, but the amount of detail in general is amazing. Mercifully, and somewhat miraculously, Toronto's ubiquitous hydro wires and poles have not been included to clutter up the mix. (Oh if only the real city was so neat and tidy…)
In places the mapping is quite up-to-date: the bridge raised to connect the Parade towers at Concord CityPlace earlier this summer is included as is George Brown College's new Waterfront Campus, while just outside of the 3D coverage the map is not so current: there is no River City.
The timing of the flights leaves something to be desired in a few areas: the two-week period this summer when the intersection of Queen West and Spadina was closed down for streetcar track reconstruction? Relive it here, for as long as it takes Apple to update. Same problem with Nathan Phillips Square: it looks terrible in 3D mid-reconstruction, just like in real life. It begs the question, what will be fixed up and finished first; the actual Square, or its representation on Apple's 3D map? I know the laws of time and space should apply at Nathan Phillips Square as they do anywhere else, but somehow I can't help feeling that this particular spot will be finished in Maps before we see it done in real life.
The 3D tool will be a huge hit with those wanting to get to know every corner of the central city better. We'd love to hear your stories about what you've been doing with it since gettting it. Leave a comment below!