Apple targets 3D mapping with C3 Technologies buy

Apple is continuing its trend of acquiring companies to internalise technologies that other mobile companies outsource, announcing the acquisition of 3D mapping specialist C3 Technologies.

The acquisition of C3 Technologies, confirmed by both companies late last night, sees chief executive Mattias Astrom, chief financial officer Kjell Cederstrand and product manager Ludvic Emgard all taking on new roles at Apple's iOS division.

The company's technology works to create 3D mapping that's accurate down to individual trees with little to no human intervention, using technologies developed for missile targeting, but since declassified for civilian use. Originally part of Saab AB, the company was spun out as a standalone business in 2007.

C3 Technology's 3D mapping system was previously used in Nokia's Ovi Maps 3D platform, and represents a significant feather in Apple's cap as it works to integrate technologies that will help its mobile platform stand out from the crowd.

The company's acquisition also shows that Apple is trying to internalise as much technology as it can: voice recognition is now provided by Siri, which Apple acquired in 2010, and mapping will soon be provided by C3 Technologies and Placebase, a company that Apple acquired back in 2009 in order to get away from the use of rival Google's mapping services in iOS.