At the Google Maps “Next Dimension” event in San Francisco today, Google made a couple announcements that will surely benefit Android smartphone and tablet users.
First, the Google Maps Android app will soon receive true offline maps support. Previously, users were able to cache routes on a limited scale, but the upcoming update will allow them to download full maps of specific areas without needing a data connection. Such a feature would be quite useful for frequent travelers and in instances when cellular signals are weaker than expected.
Second, Google announced a new imaging feature for Google Earth that models the world in 3D. Google is now using 45-degree aerial imagery and rendering techniques to automatically create 3D cityscapes with buildings, terrain and landscaping. The goal is to cover metropolitan areas totaling 300 million people by the end of 2012.
Google said to expect these updates “soon,” but gave little details beyond that. We’re going to assume they will have more to say at Google I/O later this month. For now, the ball is in Apple’s court, as they’re rumored to announce a maps solution of their own at WWDC next week.
New 3D imagery for Google Earth for mobile:
Google Maps: The many dimensions of a modern map:
Source: Google via Engadget