Apple has apparently acquired a company called C3 Technologies that has sophisticated processing technology that can build 3D maps, reports “9to5Mac” (

Here’s how the company is described: “C3 Technologies is the leading provider of 3D mapping solutions, offering photo-realistic models of the world for search, navigation and geographic information systems. Since 2007 when it was spun out of the aerospace and defense company Saab AB, venture-backed C3 has redefined mapping by applying previously classified image processing technology to the development of 3D maps as a platform for new social and commercial applications. The Sweden-based company’s automated software and advanced algorithms enable C3 to rapidly assemble extremely precise 3D models, and seamlessly integrate them with traditional 2D maps, satellite images, street level photography and user generated images, that together are forever changing how people use maps and explore the world.”

The C3 acquisition — if true — follows several purchases that hint that Apple is building a back-end mapping system to be able to compete with Google’s GPS offerings. In 2009, Apple bought Placebase, a mapping software development company; last summer, Apple acquired web-based 3D mapping company Poly9. With the purchase of 3C Technologies, Apple owns now three companies working on innovating the maps experience.

Why did Apple make the purchase? As “MobileBeat” notes ( “If there’s one thing Apple hates, it’s having to rely on technology from a competitor. And when you navigate or get directions on Apple iOS devices, such as the iPhone, you’re using an application from Google Maps — because Apple has nothing else.”

— Dennis Sellers