The so-called Canadian "brain-drain" is still ongoing. Quebec City based mapping API producer Poly9 has recently been acquired by Apple in a move that has seen the majority of the company's staff pack up and head for Cupertino.
This is the company's second purchase of a map-related developer in just under a year, as Apple purchased Placebase in late July 2009. The Placebase purchase, combined with Poly9 and the ongoing feud with Google, has led some to believe that the company is gearing up to replace the popular search provider's current mapping solution across the iDevice line.
The company, who has developed map management APIs for the likes of Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC, and even NORAD's Santa Tracker, specializes in the aggregation of maps from many different sources; their current offerings provide similar functionality to that of Google Earth and to Mapspread, allowing users to create custom, layered maps from spreadsheet input.
Poly9's software has also proven useful in other elements of the geomatics sector. In addition to their work on Santa Tracker, Poly9 has also produced maps that include real-time traffic output and even created a service that provides turn by turn directions over the phone. The company's large brain-trust will be a huge addition to the Apple team and will allow Cupertino to develop its mapping and navigation in-house rather than by relying on its largest competitor.
Although neither side has commented, Poly9 employees have confirmed that they are under a "confidentiality agreement." While they have not revealed with whom this agreement has been made, Le Soleil also confirms that observers believe this acquisition of "agile web ninjas" [sic] is a positive move for Apple as the small company's talent has been noted by the likes of Where 2.0 and Tim O'Reilly.