Gizmodo:

Over the past few years, Apple’s quietly put together a heathy little stable of mapping companies. No products have come of them thus far but key acquisitions have given Apple the mapping muscle to, at the very least, power some peripheral features on its own—even if for now that still means using Google Maps as its main backbone.

Last year, Apple picked up C3 Technologies, which specializes in hyper-realistic 3D mapping. The previous two years it was Placebace, a company that customizes and overlays information on maps, and Poly9, which is a lot like Google Earth.

Those companies give Apple a solid foundation, but none really operates on the scale of Google Maps. They’re fancy carburetors, deluxe exhaust systems, but Google Maps has been the only engine really capable of driving a high-powered maps app. Until now.

Veeeeeeeeeeeeery innnnnnnnnteresting. If you’re a nerd.