Google Maps event liveblog: awesome 3D maps hitting iOS and Android

By , Jun 6, 2012

Not to be outdone by Apple, which according to the Wall Street Journal will reveal the souped up Maps app with own tiles and breathtaking 3D view next Monday, Google is holding a presser to announce “the next dimension in Maps”. Follow our remote live coverage of Google’s media event to learn about the latest in mapping technologies…

Google is streaming this press event live via YouTube.

Brian McClendon, Google’s vice president of Google Maps, already teased a couple new features, including custom maps, compass mode, bicycle routes and more imagery.

He’s currently going giving everyone a detailed backgrounder on the history of Google Maps.

Damn it, this guy really needs a take lesson in public speaking – I’m like zzzz.

Google has high-resolution imagery covering approximately 75 percent of the world. A cool five million miles have been driven so far by Street View cars. All told, these vehicles have collected a cool 20 petabytes of high-resolution images.

Rebecca Moore, Program Manager of Google Earth Outreach, is now blabbering about the social good of Maps and how the services helped save a lot of lives:

The Air Force told that because of Google Earth, they saved over 4,000 lives.

Not sure what to make out of this.

McClendon is back on stage

As of today, Google Maps is going offline.

It’s been one of their most requested features.

So, now you’ll be able to use Maps without a network connect. The offline feature is coming soon to Android devices. No word of offline maps for the Google Maps iOS client, however.

While offline, you’ll still be able to zoom in, use Street View and access the blue GPS marker and compass.

Here’s how this feature looks like on Android devices.

Speaking of which, this has been a feature in the Labs section since last year.

Here, have a look.

Well, this is cool: Google is showing off a backpack-worn Street View camera that will let them capture street-level imagery in places where you can only walk.

It’s 40 pounds, and includes two batteries that’ll last you all day. It’s Android-powered. We intend to take it to National Parks, the Grand Canyon, castles, ruins, etc.

Looks quite sci-fi, no?

This gizmo should help Google’s teams cover hard-to-reach places with Street View imagery.

We’ve taken this to 50 museums worldwide, and we’re going to more. Recently, we put a bike on a train in the Swiss Alps, and we even put it on snowmobile to capture the Vancouver Olympic sights, and we – over time – solved problems we had with temperatures and vibration. This is our quest to be comprehensive.

For sure.

Now, onto the main event – 3D maps.

We wanted to model the world in 3D, so we’re using automated technology to extract data from aerial models. It’s really difficult; it’s obviously a very complicated process, but as you can see the results can be amazing.

Apple pundit John Gruber was quick to point out over at his Daring Fireball blog:

Gee, I wonder why they previewed this now, rather waiting until it actually shipped? It does look cool, though.

It all starts with flyovers.

They use multiple aircrafts to take 45-degree images from four different angles. Once special airplanes capture data, Google taps its vast computing power to generate a textured 3D mesh like this one below.

The company details that it has its own planes:

Google does have a fleet of planes with contractors that fly exclusively for Google. And the privacy issues is no different than we’ve had with aerial shots for years.

By the way, Tour Guide is another new feature in Google Earth that provides recommendations while navigating.

Hey, they’re showing off 3D maps in the Google Earth app on an iPad.

Whoa, the app just crashed – nice!

Google confesses that the 3D mapping process they use is not new. It’s just that the technology has been around for awhile but only caught up recently to do 3D maps a justice.

For comparison, here’s a rapid 3D mapping solution Apple’s allegedly working on, based on a declassified missile targeting technology from SaaB.

Google isn’t advertising 3D as a game-changer, interesting.

While we can’t create the perfect map, we can get a lot closer than we are today.

So, are 3D maps from Google going to be available on iOS?

Our goal is to get it everywhere. Today, we have over one billion active Google Maps users we’re created a map for the world.

Well, Google was just messing with us, 3D maps are coming to both Android and iOS soon!

Specifically, 3D maps are coming to Android “in coming weeks” and to iOS “when possible”.

On the latter, Google noted:

It’s just a question of when that’ll happen.

Looks like the ball is in Apple’s court now.

3D maps will initially cover “several cities” in the United States. They are planning on covering a “very large number” of cities by the year’s end.

This is probably going to play out is by way of an update to Google’s Earth for iOS app.

We were kinda hoping that Google would rub it in Apple’s face by releasing a brand spanking new mapping app for iOS featuring 3D views.

To its record, Google demoed the feature using both an iPad and an Android device.

Jokers as they are, Google installed this amusing sign outside the event restrooms.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Google will release a brand new iOS mapping app with 3D capability.

I wonder if Apple will approve it.

And that’s a wrap everyone.

For more information, check out Google’s announcement post over at the Lat Long blog and a cool video showcasing gorgeous 3D cityscapes in Google Earth.

So, what do you guys think?

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  • That Kid

    this is just another reason for me to switch to android and forget apple

    • http://twitter.com/Fr0sT_RC1 Matt

      this is coming to iOS also….

    • http://www.iTechBlog.in/ taran

      and then loose all future TIMELY updates, stability, icloud, gorgeous looks, virus freedom, safari, imessage, and reliability….loosing all the above things for some stupid 3d maps….really…??…

      • Anonymous

        I love how you used “freedom” in your statement like as if that’s a word Apple recognizes. Seriously, ALL your “benefits” are just more crap being spouted by yet ANOTHER apple fanboy. Google has intertwined itself with the internet. Apple is already showing signs of instability. Not to mention their internet devices (iPhone, MacBook, iPod Touch, iPad) all depend on Google at their core when it comes to internet and distancing themselves from them is shooting themselves in the foot.

        However, same goes for google. They keep distancing themselves from the most popular and most used hardware. The best hardware of the web(Apple) and the software of the web(Google) are at war. And like every other war in human history, there is no victory, only loss.

        I just hope they see that before consumers are TOO screwed over. The iPhone is the most popular and widely used phone; thats fine. I have an iPhone. The most popular and widely used search engine is Google Search. The most popular mail client; GMail. The most popular maps service; Google Maps. Apple and Google need to team up again or one of them(most likely Apple) WILL fail.

      • http://twitter.com/InternDom Dom

        I’m the biggest Apple fanboy and I don’t understand why Apple and Google can’t just get along. I mean Samsung and Apple have partnerships… What’s so bad about Google. I’m sure a good percentage of all the visitors to iDB get here because of searching Google… It’s an essential part of the internet. Like it or not.

      • Anonymous

        Actually, if you want to be technical, Outlook is the most popular email client. Hell, Outlook Express is more popular than Gmail.

        As far as WEB email goes, Yahoo Mail is the most popular, followed by Hotmail and then Gmail.

        Mapquest is still king of maps, just barely though, but still king.

        Basically, you admonish someone for being an Apple fanboy but apparently you’re just as fanatical about Google yourself. It’s called facts. Look it up on Google.

      • http://www.iTechBlog.in/ taran

        Dont take it personally,
        But i said freedom from viruses…there’s always a new malware surfacing on android…nd wid so much shopping i do wid my phone i just dont feel comfortable…most f d android users i know hav an antivirus installed….now tell me do you hav an anti virus installed on your iphone..!!…
        Secondly…i used d galaxy s2 for a month nd den dumped it…bcoz it lags…when u scroll through settings or photos it lags…nd most importantly i was so frustrated being not able to upgrade to ICS(official)…you ll say there are custom roms…bt u dnt hav to use a custom ios…so y wid android…
        Its my opinion if you ll like to follow up, my id is taranxd@yahoo .com (btw yahoo mail is more popular than gmail)…:))

      • freediverx

        “The best hardware of the web(Apple) and the software of the web(Google) are at war. And like every other war in human history, there is no victory, only loss.”

        Perhaps, but it was Google that started that war, and in a pretty underhanded way at that, considering Schmidt was on their board. Google deserves everything Apple throws at them.

    • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

      For maps? What are the other reasons? We have yet to even see what Apple’s map will feel/look like. Android sucks :o)

    • Anonymous

      Apparently you, and your 3 likes didn’t pay much attention to the presentation.

    • freediverx

      Welcome to one of the world’s tiniest minorities!

  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    Needs to be a bit more than maps to get me to change to a android device.. I’ll stick with apple thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/LouisDxx Louee Dickinson

    Ouch! Google earth kept on crashing his iPad!!

    Why did he use a iPad anyway, surly Google are more into there Samsung Tabs??

    • http://twitter.com/Fr0sT_RC1 Matt

      i said the same thing lol. i think it was just apple pulling a trick in the shadows!

    • http://www.iTechBlog.in/ taran

      even google are ashamed of there ICS on samsung tab…;D

      • http://twitter.com/Fr0sT_RC1 Matt

        AAAAAHAHAHAHHAHA! I’VE NEVER TROLLED BEFORE! MAN THIS FEELS GOOD!!!!

        jk i can appreciate android. competition drives this field.

      • http://www.iTechBlog.in/ taran

        I like android too…bt problem comes when droid fans just start stating that android is better than ios…
        Competition is eventually gud fr us…bt credit shud b given where it is due….:)

    • freediverx

      Nothing new here. Even the current Google Earth app crashes every time on my iPad 3 when zooming into any area with a lot of 3D models. Pretty useless.

    • brosport

      Don’t call me surly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716351691 Daniel Daviault

    Some nice stuff, but well able to compare some when Apple Publically unveils its new maps app

  • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

    No apple is updating/using there maps and dropping support of google maps.

    Apple seems to have a lot of cool stuff on the way. Google can’t ruin that

  • http://twitter.com/Fr0sT_RC1 Matt

    i hope apple doesn’t blow google out of the water come WWDC. i’m anxious!

  • http://twitter.com/InternDom Dom

    Wouldn’t it be hilarious (probably false but funny as hell) if we were all wrong this whole time and the 3D maps rumored to be on iOS were actually Google’s new maps. They just didn’t want Apple to out their new feature first…

  • Anonymous

    I wish Google would just make ‘Maps’ a separate app complete with turn-by-turn directions and release it on iOS already. But I guess that by doing so would people less incentive to go Android, which is probably why it won’t happen.

    For me personally, of all the GPS apps I have tried Google Nav beats them all by far. Damn shame us iOS users can’t get in on that.

  • Anonymous

    double comment. please remove.

  • http://twitter.com/myorangeisstuck willie

    WHOO it just crashed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TW5ODE565VM7Q6PGMER7VAWR6M Sturdley

    Sheesh, if we could just get Google and Apple egos and pride to diminish a (reasonable) bit, it would be wonderful to have Offline Google Maps on even an iPad. Nothing like battling greed, huh?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TW5ODE565VM7Q6PGMER7VAWR6M Sturdley

    Sheesh, if we could just get Google and Apple egos and pride to diminish a (reasonable) bit, it would be wonderful to have Offline Google Maps on even an iPad. Nothing like battling greed, huh?

  • Wael Abdo

    IOS? well in a couple of days we’ll know that ;).