Google Maps to add full 3D models to some cities

Google has announced that its Google Maps application for mobile devices will receive a couple of major upgrades in the near future. In a post today on the official Google Maps blog, the company announced that it will begin adding full 3D models to a number of cities in Google Maps.

The blog post states:

This is possible thanks to a combination of our new imagery rendering techniques and computer vision that let us automatically create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery. By the end of the year we aim to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.

The blog does not reveal which cities will be the first to get the full 3D model treatment in Google Maps.

Google also announced today that Android users of Google Maps will finally be able to access the application offline with a planned update in the next few weeks. The blog states:

Users will be able to take maps offline from more than 100 countries. This means that the next time you are on the subway, or don’t have a data connection, you can still use our maps.

Finally, Google announced Street View Trekker. It's a technology backpack that Google employees can use to take photographs of locations on foot that can't be accessed by a ground vehicle.

The news on these updates with Google Maps comes after a report earlier this week that says Apple will soon dump Google Maps for iOS devices as a native application.

Source: Google Maps blog | Image via Google

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12 Comments

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drazgoosh said,
Well they've had the technology for a long time on Google Earth. About time they implemented it into Google Maps

They never had such technology. The 3D you see on Google Earth has nothing to do with the 3D they introduced yesterday.

PyX said,

They never had such technology. The 3D you see on Google Earth has nothing to do with the 3D they introduced yesterday.

Clarification - the 3d models in Google Earth were hand-made and placed in the locations, etc. Apparently, the new technology can extrapolate the models from the aerial photographs directly.

Nice! Can't wait for this, hope my city is on the short list....offline maps is another useful addition

This is quite impressive. Buildings and infrastructure should be relatively easy if the surveyed information is available but the natural terrain is a lot different, yet trees and cliffs etc in that video seem to be rendered quite nicely.

I've used a lot of aerial photographs overlying surveyed plans, some quite detailed plans, and there is always a margin of error in them, there's always objects which don't fit or look slightly odd and stretched out of place - trees and tall objects such as pylons being among the most common which form errors.

The ability to download cities on mobile is a welcomed feature. Even though you can pre-load tiles on wi-fi its still not the same as simply selecting a city and then downloading it - helpful for holidays and general getting about.

Mean while, sometime in history Nokia already has this 3D map feature .... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcB62x40XWk

Not quite as high quality as the 3D building Google are showing, but given Nokia's stab at automatic 3D was a a few years old with old photos, I think they did a goodjob.

I'd dare say they have a much improved version in the works too... along with Apple.

sagum said,
Mean while, sometime in history Nokia already has this 3D map feature .... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcB62x40XWk

Not quite as high quality as the 3D building Google are showing, but given Nokia's stab at automatic 3D was a a few years old with old photos, I think they did a goodjob.

I'd dare say they have a much improved version in the works too... along with Apple.

Apple bought C3 technologies which was the company behind Nokia's Ovi Maps 3D

Cool! My guess is the major metropolis areas like NY, California, etc would be the first to go 3D. I also can see problems with the backpack photos, just imagine what happens when the backpacker stumbles into a restricted area, or someones private property, then again, perhaps some people will enjoy it and screw with good ol' Google, like the women who flashed her bra at the Google car!

jnelsoninjax said,
Cool! My guess is the major metropolis areas like NY, California, etc would be the first to go 3D. I also can see problems with the backpack photos, just imagine what happens when the backpacker stumbles into a restricted area, or someones private property, then again, perhaps some people will enjoy it and screw with good ol' Google, like the women who flashed her bra at the Google car!
A company of Google's size isn't going to just "stumble" into a restricted area, they will research first to make sure they stick to public places and routes, obv.