Last week Google told us they would be showing off the “next dimension of Maps” today, and so they have. A lot of people thought it would have to do with 3D, and some of it does, but the big deal of Google’s event is the introduction of offline Maps. And offline Maps is a big deal.
I can’t count the amount of times that I have had to wait on Google Maps to pull up my directions or navigation due to a poor data connection. Now, this is usually when I am in the middle of nowhere, but it was still an issue. Google will now allow users to download Map areas to their device (this is already offered in Labs, to some extent) and will improve upon any offline downloading that is currently available. They didn’t specify exactly how it will all work, or how much you can have offline at a time, but it will be coming to Android soon.
They also will be improving their 3D maps pictures, giving them much more detail and more of a realistic look. This feature will be coming to both iOS and Android however, because Google is looking to bring these features to both platforms. Google has started using new forms of mapping to obtain these images which will give us higher resolution images as well. They have also introduced a new backpack camera that they will use to obtain Street View pictures in places that they can’t get cars.
Pretty cool stuff.
We’ll be sure to let you know when Google finally pushes these features to their iOS and Android apps, and give you our opinions of how they actually work when on devices.