The recent introduction of the Apple iPhone 5 and the accompanying iOS6 software environment which, among other changes, replaced the use of a mapping App based on Google's map data with one that makes use of Apple's map data, as well as changing the decisions as to what data is displayed (served to the user) in responses to queries (especially implicit ones through the manipulation of the viewing window), has led to significant changes in the user experience with apps that make use of map data and has resulted in closer scrutiny of mapping applications on mobile devices. Many of these changes in the user experience deal with the quality of the data that is being produced and presented to the user, and has led to a wide ranging discussion of data quality and the seeming lack of use of quality assurance policies and protocols by Apple. These are widely documented in web postings, and have generally been fixed soon after being disclosed. However, equally important are significant changes in the manner in which, and the amount and nature of, the data that is presented to the user, but, surprisingly, not much attention has been paid to this aspect of the user experience which is somewhat analogous to the concept of the "last mile'' when discussing the bandwidth of communications networks and its associated costs.
The changes in the presentation and in the amount of data that is presented to the user on the Apple iOS platform (using the iOS6 Apple Maps App and the iOS5 Google Maps App), with an emphasis on mobile devices with a small form factor such as smartphones, are tabulated and compared along with other mapping Apps such as the iOS apps of Bing, Nokia (called HERE Maps), ESRI (called ArcGIS), MapQuest, OpenStreetMap (whose open source map data forms the basis of OpenSeaMap which is used here), and a new one from Google (termed iOS Google Maps) which was designed as a means to enable the use of the Google map data in iOS (both iOS5 and iOS6). We also compare these apps on the Apple iOS platform with the Google Maps App on the Android platform, as well as demonstrate a research prototype App which is affected by these presentation changes.