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Here's why you might spot people carrying tricked-out backpacks around Metro Vancouver (MAP)

If you see someone with a weird backpack, this project could be why. πŸŽ’πŸ“ΈπŸ“
One of the places Apple Maps backpackers will explore is Stanley Park.

In an effort to make the "best digital map of Canada" Apple is sending out backpackers across Canada's three most populous metropolitan areas.

The technology company is looking to improve Apple Maps, the app which faces off against Google Maps. As part of that, they're collecting data and images via people on the ground, and doing "pedestrian surveys."

"Some pedestrian surveys use a backpack system to collect data that may be used directly in Apple Maps, such as in the Look Around feature," states the Apple website. "Other pedestrian surveys use iPads, iPhones or other devices to collect data for map improvement purposes."

In a tweet, they note that members of the Apple Maps team will be walking around Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver through September and October with special backpacks. They don't share a photo of the backpacks but do note they have specialized equipment.

"These pedestrian surveys allow us to improve and update Apple Maps in areas where vehicles simply can’t go while using the same privacy protections as the Apple Maps vehicles," they state on their website.

Faces and licence plates will be censored on Apple Maps.

In Vancouver, backpack surveyors will be walking around areas near the ocean like the seawall, UBC's waterfront and Stanley Park. They'll also be covering parts of the downtown core, like BC Place, Granville Street, and around the Vancouver Art Gallery. Outside of the core, they'll focus on some parks, some SkyTrain stations and the Arbutus Greenway.

In North Vancouver they'll also be walking along parts of the waterfront like Waterfront Park, Kings Mill Park and Lonsdale Quay. In West Vancouver, Ambleside will be surveyed.

They'll also be at Iona Beach in Richmond and some Burnaby parks, like Deer Lake and Central Park.

Screenshot 2021-09-13 155137
A map of the locations the Apple Maps team will take their fancy backpack. By Apple