Apple has said that it plans to launch a traffic service in the next couple of years taking on TomTom and Google in the mapping business.

“Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years,” the company said in a Q&A published on its website trying to play down fears that it was tracking iPhone customers around the world.

Although Apple went into no further detail over the possible mapping app or service, it’s thought that the company could be looking to ditch Google maps from its phone as a standard app and provide its own solution instead.

Google has maps, Bing has maps, Nokia has maps, Apple doesn’t.

TomTom’s offering, available on the iPhone as a subscription extra within it’s navigation app gives detailed up to the minute analysis on traffic and opts to automatically re-route people around problem areas.

It however has come into criticism this week as it was found that the company was selling the data to Dutch police to allow them to see where they needed to put additional speed cameras. TomTom has said that it won’t do this again perhaps panicking that people would turn away from the system.

It’s been collecting data for over three years and can pinpoint the average speed of a section of road just 20m long.