Apple working on Google Maps rival service that uses military-grade spy planes

Apple is set to announce its very own navigation service this week, which will use special overhead planes to photograph more of our surroundings than ever before.

The new ‘Maps' program is expected to be revealed at WWDC in San Francisco and will take the company's great enemy on at its own game - rivaling Google's widely-used Street View service.

Google Maps has never been far from controversy, with its camera-equipped cars attracting a host of accusations and lawsuits over privacy issues.

But an unperturbed Apple is ready to push the boundaries further by deploying special spy-planes to photograph us from above and not just at ground level.

The program is billed as being "cleaner, faster, and more reliable", producing high-quality pictures of streets, homes and gardens.

But the backlash to Apple's project has already begun to emerge, with director of the Big Brother Watch privacy campaign group, Nick Pickles, warning the Sunday Times that the service will "take us over the garden fence".

"You won't be able to sunbathe in your garden without worrying about an Apple or Google plane buzzing overhead taking pictures," he said.