Google promises better 3D maps – TechCrunch

Google is announcing many significant updates to Google Maps today, from bringing its Live View AR directions indoors to adding weather data to its maps. Still, the most exciting news — which in typical Google fashion doesn’t have an ETA just yet — is that Google plans to bring a vastly improved 3D layer to Google Maps. Using photogrammetry, the same technology that allows Microsoft’s Flight Simulator to render large swaths of the world in detail, Google is also building a world model for its Maps service.

“We’re going to continue to improve that technology that helps us fuse the billions of aerials, StreetView, and satellite images to help us move from that flat 2D map to a more accurate 3D model than we’ve ever had. And be able to do that more quickly. And to bring more detail to it than we’ve ever been able to do before,” Dane Glasgow, Google’s VP for Geo Product Experience, said in a press event ahead of today’s announcement. He noted that this 3D layer would allow the company to visualize its data in new and exciting ways.


In reality, how exactly this will play out remains to be seen, but Glasgow showed off a new 3D route preview, for example, with all of the typical mapping data overlayed on top of the 3D map. Glasgow also noted that this technology would allow Google to parse out small features like stoplights and building addresses, resulting in better directions. “We also think that the 3D imagery will allow us to visualize a lot of new information and data overlaid on top, you know, everything from helpful information like traffic or accidents, transit delays, crowdedness — there are lots of potentials here to bring new information,” he explained.

As for the more immediate future, Google announced a handful of new features today that will all roll out in the coming months. Indoor Live View is the flashiest of these. Google’s existing AR Live View walking directions currently only work outdoors. Still, the company can now bring this indoors thanks to technological advances to recognize where exactly you are (even without a good GPS signal). This feature is already live in some malls in the U.S. in Chicago, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.

Still, in the coming months, it’ll also come to select airports, malls, and transit stations in Tokyo and Zurich (just in time for vaccines to arrive and travel to — maybe — rebound). Because Google can locate you by comparing the images around you to its database, it can also tell what floor you are on and guide you to your gate at the Zurich airport, for example (though in my experience, there are few places with better signage than airports…)

Gemma Broadhurst
I am a writer by profession, and I love to write in my spare time. I am one of the most experienced writer for newspriest. I always make sure that whatever is written on my blog is 100% genuine and true. I am a University of Florida graduate pursuing a Master's degree.

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