Apple is Granted Three Key Mobile Map Patents Covering Texture, Location and Seamless Wireless Transitions
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 52 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we briefly cover three granted patents relating to maps. One covers location-aware iDevices. A second relates to iDevices that are able to seamlessly transition from outdoor to indoor mapping using GPS and specialty techniques using sensors. Apple's third granted patent covers maps that are able to use a mipmap chain to render adaptive textures to a map in real time. It allows the maps to take on a 3D look while users are driving so that they could see rich scenery such as trees, shrubs and more importantly, real-time weather conditions.
Granted Patent Title: Method, System and Apparatus for Rendering a Map with Adaptive Textures for Map Features
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to methods, apparatus, and computer-readable storage media for rendering a map with adaptive textures for map features.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 illustrates an example of blending between level-of-detail textures for a feature that connects from one map tile to another adjacent map tile.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 noted above illustrates a map module that implements' rendering a map with adaptive textures for map features. The mipmap chain generation component 534 may obtain texture data to generate a texture mipmap chain from several texture sources. For example, a weather service may supply several weather textures or weather information to be incorporated into a texture mipmap chain.
Map data may be map information and other map-related data, such as two-dimensional map image data (e.g., aerial view of roads utilizing satellite imagery), three-dimensional map image data (e.g., traversable map with three-dimensional features, such as buildings), route and direction calculation (e.g., ferry route calculations or directions between two points for a pedestrian), real-time navigation data (e.g., turn-by-turn visual navigation data in two or three dimensions), location data (e.g., where is the client device currently located), and other geographic data (e.g., wireless network coverage, weather, traffic information, or nearby points-of-interest). In various embodiments, the map service data may include localized labels for different countries or regions; localized labels may be utilized to present map labels (e.g., street names, city names, points of interest) in different languages on client devices.
Apple notes that the mapping app with adaptive textures could be used in video games as well.
Apple interestingly notes that in various embodiments, the multifunction device may be configured to perform route correction based on real-time data, such as updates in map information, road conditions, traffic conditions, and/or weather conditions. For instance, the multifunction device may be configured to alter a route such that the route avoids a construction zone or a dangerous storm cell.
Today's patent is about delivering very high-end visual textures. Whether Apple's latest granted patent regarding mapping textures will ever lead to delivering physical textures that could actually be felt on an iDevice display is unknown at this time – though Apple has hinted of such a development over the years.
Apple credits Christopher Blumenberg, Aroon Pahwa and Marvel Van OS as the inventors of granted patent 9,064,337 which was originally filed in Q3 2012 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple was also granted two other mapping related patents today. The second granted patent is titled "Location-aware mobile device," under patent number 9,066,199. The patent was originally filed in 2008.
The third granted patent issued to Apple today regarding maps is that of patent number 9,066,207 titled "Managing states of location determination," which was originally filed in December 2012.
Apple notes that in many places, GPS signals can be non-existent, weak, or subject to interference, such that it is not possible to accurately determine a location using the GPS functions of the mobile device. In such cases, the mobile device can determine its location using other technologies.
Apple's granted patent further notes that compared to a conventional mobile device having GPS functions, a mobile device implementing features described in their invention is able to provide users with a smoother experience when they enter or leave a building. When a user enters or exits the building, Apple's iDevices can automatically change location determination procedures to avoid or minimize the period of time needed for transition. For example, when the user enters the building in which GPS signals are unavailable, the mobile device can quickly switch the location determination procedure from using GPS signals to using wireless access point signals detectable from inside of the building, instead of performing time-consuming GPS signal searches until time out.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted above is a diagram providing an overview of managing states of location determination.
Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Comments are reviewed daily from 5am to 6pm MST and sporadically over the weekend.