Apple turns to contracted freelancers to help boost accuracy of Apple Maps data

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Apple is reportedly using paid freelance contributions to help improve the accuracy of Apple Maps, and may kickstart a new phase in the work later this month.

In France at least, freelancers using a web app — TryRating — are being paid about 54 cents per short-form task, according to iGeneration. Workers are limited to 20 hours and 600 tasks per week, ensuring that it can't become a full-time job.

Rather than hiring and training people itself, Apple is said to be using subcontractors. Recruitment efforts are allegedly happening worldwide, although it's not clear what the pay rates are like outside of France.

People enrolled in the program are presented with search queries, asked to rate the results based on their relevance, and possibly correct any mistakes. According to an iGeneration source who did some of the work, people may end up tackling groups of results based on a similar place or theme.

Apple is said to be preparing a new tool and updated rules for June, enabling an influx of new tasks to work on. The verification system has reportedly been in place since at least Aug. 2016.

Apple Maps has often been criticized for inferior accuracy compared to Google Maps. Apple used Google mapping data until 2012, when it decided to strip the content out of iOS 6 in favor of various other sources. Results were so poor, initially, that there were many complaints about missing or mislabeled data — authorities in Australia had to rescue people who Maps directed into a dangerous national park.

If it's not already, the company may soon be using drones for more regular content updates. At next week's WWDC keynote, it may also announce new features like indoor mapping, and enhanced car navigation such as better lane guidance.