Google Maps have been helping the lost find their way all over the globe. With constant upgrades to the system, like traffic information, navigation and more importantly – Street view, things have only gotten better. For the last decade, search giant has dabbled in a variety of arenas and Google Maps, launched in 2005 has been going strong since its beginning.
The company’s key goals to their maps being so popular is, for one, the comprehensiveness of the UI and layout. Their blog states – it’s a pretty limited search engine that only draws from a subset of sources. In the same way, it’s not much of a map that leaves you stranded the moment you step off the highway or visit a new country.
They further add that over the last few years they’ve been building a comprehensive base map of the entire globe—based on public and commercial data, imagery from every level (satellite, aerial and street level) and the collective knowledge of users themselves.
In a bid to take their Street View mapping to the next level, Google is testing out an all new system for implementation – Street View Trekker. To take the mapping system off road and into the ‘wilderness’, the Trekker option should give users the opportunity to view sights that could go slightly off the beaten path. The new system is being tested with equipment that’s designed to fit in a backpack. Google aims at capturing images of spaces, like the Grand Canyon to add more to the user's experience while using their software enabling access to locations other than regular street views.
More improvemnets and features on the way
The next attribute their map makers focus on and are aiming to improve is accuracy. Google has understood that the world in a dynamic space that’s constantly changing. By creating a system that cross-checks data they already have we have with new data they aim to significantly improve the accuracy of the maps. Harnessing the power of the users themselves with tool like Report a Problem and Map Maker (launched in 2008) Google can add more data to the list for better accuracy. They have recently announced the expansion of Map Maker to South Africa and Egypt, and 10 more countries will be added in the next few weeks: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.
Usability is also a factor that the company aims to improve further on. According to the Official Google Blog, requests to have their maps available offline on their mobile phones have been quite high. Naturally the company has complied and have announced that offline Google Maps for the Android platform will be rolling out in the next few weeks. Users will be able to take maps offline from more than 100 countries. This will allow users to access maps without a data connection and will be quite helpful when travelling abroad.
And finally the recent announcement that Google is taking 3D mapping to the next level is proof that the company aims to make their software the only one you’d need. 3D texturing was already added to Google Earth, back in 2006 and is being further enhanced today. Google Earth on Mobile device will soon be getting 3D models as well. Using a combination of their new image rendering techniques and computer vision, they’re able to – automatically create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery. The company also aims to have – 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people, by the end of the year.
Google 3D Imagery
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