Apple Maps quietly gave Boston a ‘detailed city experience’

Apple Maps users who have been thinking of visiting old Beantown, aka Boston, can now get a sneak peek at some of the area’s most famous landmarks in 3D after Apple added it to its growing list of hand-picked cities added 3D models.

Tech blogger Frank McShan first noticed that Boston was paying for its debt with colorful, 3D-accurate buildings. With no official announcement, and being a stranded New Yorker myself, we have to thank Boston-based Dan Moren for showing us which landmarks are now appearing in full three dimensions and how they compare to real life.

On Apple’s SixColors blog, Moren wrote that there are now full-color 3D renderings of key landmarks like Fenway Park, Beacon Hill, Paul Revere’s house, Bunker Hill Monument, Quincy Market, Old North Church and Trinity Church, and Copley Square.

There is also South Station, TD Garden, Boston City Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Boston Public Library. And although it’s outside of Boston, Apple Maps also shows the Strata Center at MIT.

As a non-Bostonian, it’s hard to judge how accurate the 3D displays are, but Moren seemed impressed with small details like the gold frames around South Station’s main doors and the precise smokestack placement on the Quincy Market building. There are a few missteps here and there, like a missing pinecone on the Beacon Hill Statehouse and “blobby” statues in front of the Boston Public Library.

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Apple has been working on adding even more 3D to its Maps app for years. First launched in 2021, these so-called “Detailed City Experiences” use satellite imagery and 3D models to allow users to see a full-color 3D model of key landmarks amidst the vague 3D silhouettes of surrounding buildings in major cities around the world. Apple Maps currently divides a “Detailed City Experience” into:

Atlanta, GAChicago, ILLas Vegas, NVLondon, United KingdomLos Angeles, CAMelbourne, AustraliaMiami, FLMontréal, CanadaNew York, NYPhiladelphia, PASan Diego, CASan Francisco Bay Area, CASeattle, WASydney, AustraliaToronto, CanadaVancouver, CanadaWashington DC

Apple is still trying to compete with by far the most popular navigation app, Google Maps, especially since last year Google released a “photorealistic aerial” feature showing the areas around 100 major landmarks, including London’s Big Ben and the Empire State Building , comprised in New York City. The company’s new “Immersive View” feature became available in February for London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo, allowing users to stroll through a 3D city in full color and switch seamlessly to street view. Google promises that the feature will include more cities in the future.