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Apple Park: New drone video and 3D maps

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New insights get to the core of company’s giant new headquarters

In the foreground, the entrance to two underground tunnels in a hillside. In the background, the profile of the ring-shaped Apple Park building. Matthew Roberts

With Apple Park in business, new insights about the gleaming ring in Cupertino are piling up by the bushel.

South Bay drone operator and videographer Matthew Roberts buzzed the building for his monthly aerial check up over the long weekend, catching the campus in a slightly awkward in-between phase.

Some elements, like the R&D building, as well as those vast and sprawling parking garages, are not only finished but appear primed and ready for proper use after years under construction.

But other places, like the incoming Steve Jobs Theater, are still marked works in progress, giving the overall area a kind of half-dressed look. Note the small army of crane and basket vehicles in the midst of landscaping efforts.

Most notable in this new survey: The appearance of what seems to be the historic Glendenning Barn, the agrarian artifact circa 1916 that’s rubbed shoulders with some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names over its 101-year lifespan.

As the San Jose Mercury News reported in 2004 of the enduringly antique structure:

“No one, it seems, knows exactly how the barn survived decades of development. It was there when HP bought the land in 1971. The company used it for storage and it became the centerpiece of a campus picnic area.”

Apple promised to preserve the barn (the only remnant of the farm that once occupied most of this land), although that meant deconstructing it, moving it from its longtime location, and erecting it once more inside the ring of the Norman Foster-designed building, where its peaked roof now appears unmistakable from the air.

Meanwhile, those with a hankering for a slightly more granular look at the campus after many years of digital voyeurism during its construction will be happy to hear that company updated its own Apple Maps app to include a few extra details about its new home.

The Apple fan site Mac Rumors reports:

The enhanced detail include [...] 3D building models as well as access roads running in and out of the campus. [...] The company has added some new points of interest for Apple Park, such as the Steve Jobs Theater, the research and development facility, the staff fitness center, [...] and the man-made pond.

And of course, two weeks ago Apple admitted writer Steven Levy and photographer Dan Winters into the building itself for its big close-up in Wired. While on site, Levy and Apple design chief Jonathan Ive wrangled such elusive design-based questions as:

“This might be a stupid question,” I say. “But why do you need a four-story glass door?”

Ive raises an eyebrow. “Well,” he says. “It depends how you define need, doesn’t it?”

If nothing else, those who feel a need to get more up close and personal with Silicon Valley’s newest and most visible landmark have a lot to content themselves with. For now, anyway.

Apple Park

19111 Pruneridge Avenue, Cupertino, CA 95014