Google Maps expands coverage

Offline maps also coming for Android handsets
Darren Allan

June 7, 2012
London Google Maps

Google has been tweaking its Maps service to expand the areas covered by photography, and to improve its overall accuracy worldwide.

Street View is responsible for snapping the world and its contents, with a good dollop of controversy to boot, and Google notes that it has already taken the coverage off-road, further than the street cars, using trikes and snowmobiles.

Now the Street View Trekker has been introduced, essentially a large backpack facilitating Street View photography which can be carried by a rambler, or skier, into otherwise inaccessible areas such as the Grand Canyon.

Google further notes that the accuracy of maps is a tricky issue, as once they’ve been made, the world is constantly changing. The firm’s Map Maker system allows community feedback via the report problem tool, so new developments and inaccuracies can be pointed out.

And Map Maker has now been expanded to South Africa and Egypt, soon to be followed by ten more countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.

All of which will make Google’s global cartography considerably more accurate via user feedback and honing.

Also, the company is making Google Maps for Android available offline in the next few weeks, meaning Android handset owners can take maps from a hundred or so countries, and store them on their smartphone.

Finally, Google notes that it’s adding 3D models for entire metropolitan areas for Google Earth on mobile devices.

In a blog post, Google stated: “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.”


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