Apple issued a statement today regarding the much maligned maps in iOS 6. It says that it launched the service knowing that it is a ‘major initiative’ and that it is just getting started with it. “The more people use it, the better it will get, said Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller.

Here’s the statement given to All Things D:

Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.

All Things D’s John Paczkowski also mentions that Apple is hard at work to fix the issues:

Now, there’s no question that Apple will improve Maps over time. The team assigned to the app is under lockdown right now working to fix it.

Apple’s response has been triggered by the outcry about the relative sparseness of local results, mapping detail and navigation accuracy in its new Maps app on iOS 6. Apple makes no mention in the statement of how map usage will help its maps to improve. There is an interface for reporting errors in places and local listings, but there is no collaborative mapping tool like Google’s Map Maker.

Apple does use data from the OpenStreetMaps initiative, which is crowd-sourced, though. So it is technically getting second-hand data coming from users ‘on the ground’. But it hasn’t announced any plans for users to be allowed to contribute mapping data directly.

In our review of Apple’s Maps on iOS, we noted that it had a very long way to go if it wanted to compete with Google’s product. Apple is surely aware of this, and it will be interesting to see how they proceed from here. A recent list of positions available at Apple revealed many that had to do with its Maps product.

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