Apple has just purchased another mapping company, Canadian 3D mapping startup Poly9 Group. Poly9 makes a browser based 3D globe similar to that of Google Earth. Neither Apple or Poly9 have confirmed the acquisition yet, but a French Canadian News site states that two of the companies employees have now relocated in Silicon Valley and are bound by a non disclosure agreement.
Last year Apple purchased another mapping company called Placebase, which adds layers of data on top of maps. Looks like they are planning a Google Earth of their own.