Google updates Maps

2012-06-06 20:14
Google has announced a raft of updates to its mapping program. (Reuters)

Google has announced a raft of updates to its mapping program. (Reuters)

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Cape Town - Google on Wednesday announced an update to its popular mapping program that will include changes to the way the internet giant allows interaction with its software.

Google launched Street View Trekker in San Francisco as an update to its Street View program that allows users to view 360° views at street level in cities.

"There's a whole wilderness out there that is only accessible by foot. Trekker solves that problem by enabling us to photograph beautiful places such as the Grand Canyon so anyone can explore them. All the equipment fits in this one backpack, and we've already taken it out on the slopes," Brian McClendon, vice president of Engineering at Google Maps told News24.

Google will also allow South Africans to enhance the accuracy of the mapping platform by launching Map Maker locally. This gives users the ability to correct inaccuracies in maps by giving feedback to Google.

The Map Maker tool will also be rolled out in Egypt, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.


The update of Google's mapping is particularly important for the search giant as reports reveal that competitor Apple is planning to move away from reliance on Google Maps in its latest operating system.

The iPhone maker has acquired mapping companies C3, Placebase and Poly9 as it looks to build maps to integrate with the operating system on its mobile devices.

The move also centres around revenue for both companies.

Opus Research has found that mobile ads associated with maps or locations account for about a quarter of the money spent on adverts in 2012, up from 15% in 2010.

For users in developing countries where data costs are still high, Google announced that it will offer the ability to use maps offline so that even if the connection lost, the functionality would not be affected.

"So today we're announcing that Google Maps will be available offline for Android users in more than 100 countries in the next few weeks. This means that the next time you are on the subway, or don’t have a data connection, you can still use our maps," said McClendon.

In April Google announced that ancient African cave paintings will become available online as part of the company's expansion of illustrating unique sites that have included the Amazon as well as a recent partnership with the Catlin Seaview Survey which allows visitors to have a 360° view of the Great Barrier Reef.

Google announced that the 3D rendering in Maps will be expanded to include entire cities for mobile phone users.

"By the end of the year we aim to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people," McClendon added.

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Here's a YouTube video from Google on 3D cityscape viewing:

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