Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Google Maps - The Next Dimension


Today Google hosted a press conference called The Next Directions of Google Maps. At the event Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps, gave a sneak preview of some upcoming additions to Google Maps.

Street View

There are now over 5 million miles of Street View coverage around the world. Google however want to be able to capture Street View imagery off-road. They have therefore developed the 'trekker' a Street View camera back-pack. The back-pack will enable Google to capture imagery where even the Google trike can't go, such as in the streets of Venice or in the Grand Canyon.

3D
For Google Earth Google are now using new techniques for creating 3d imagery. Oblique imagery is being captured by aeroplanes. Google then use stereophotogrammetry to create 3d images of buildings and landscape features. This should result in much more 3d imagery being available around the world.

Google Maps for Mobile
Soon Android phone users will be able to use Google Maps without an internet connection. Using Google Maps on an Android phone users will be able to select an area on the map and then select 'make data available off-line'. Users will therefore be able to download map areas before leaving home and use Google Maps when out and about without an internet connection.

Caching of map areas has actually been available on Android for a while. This new iteration looks like it will have more functionality, such as caching for all zoom levels. I also think users will be able to download multiple map areas, whereas at the moment you can only cache one area.
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