Apple Inc. appears to be bolstering its mapping-technology arsenal to better compete with Google Inc. on that front by reportedly purchasing a Sweden-based 3-D mapping company called C3 Technologies. Previously, the Cupertino, Calif.-based giant acquired the mapping companies Placebase and Poly9, presumably for a similar reason.

Among others, AppleInsider has reported that Apple has indeed bought C3, which employs once-classified military-targeting technology to create 3-D maps.

There has been speculation lately that Apple could shift away from using Google Maps for its iPhone and iPhoto software. And the company's strategic moves in the past have indicated that developing an interactive 3-D display is one of its priorities.

In August, Patently Apple reported that Apple had applied to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a patent on its Map + Compass feature on its iOS mobile operating system.

This weekend, 9to5mac reported that C3 Technologies' CEO, CFO, and lead product manager all are now working within Apple’s iOS unit. Previously, C3 Technologies described itself as the leading provider of 3-D mapping solutions, which offer photo-realistic models of the world for search, navigation, and geographic information systems.

According to sources within C3, the company applied previously classified image-processing technology to the development of 3-D maps as a platform for new social and commercial applications. Furthermore, C3's automated software and advanced algorithms enabled it to rapidly assemble extremely precise 3-D models. And, now, it seems Apple has the whole C-3 package.