Google Earth to get highly-detailed 3D maps

Google have today announced that Google Earth will be getting full-3D maps in the coming weeks. The 3D imaging process is so detailed that, in some cities (San Francisco being an example), every building will have its own 3D model, and even trees will pop out at you. We’ll hopefully see these features right alongside the newly-announced offline mode that was mentioned in the same press conference.

If you’re interested in how Google will get such detailed mapping done in reasonable amounts, they’ve mentioned that they have control of their own fleet of planes. Some of those planes are Google-owned and some are contracted for Google’s exclusive use, and they’re equipped with cameras that will take photos at a 45 degree angle overhead. If the result seen above is the product of that method, I’m thoroughly impressed. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple responds in 5 days’ time. [Gizmodo, image via Engadget]

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  • Jeffrey Evans

    Wonder what kind of permission they needed in order to fly over all these sites multiple times to get all the angled shots? Anyway, this was also on AndroidPolice, where they eluded to Apple dropping Google’s services as they get ready to roll out their own map system. If that happens, the landscape will definitely be more interesting.

    • Jameslepable

      imagine minimum as they are out in the open and any person is allowed to take a picture of a building. This is just that on a grand scale

      • Jeffrey Evans

        Since 911, planes flying back and forth over cities raises questions.

  • user311

    Nice job dropping Google Maps, Apple…Someone at Apple just got bitch-slapped…

    • Symbolic VFX

      only difference is Apple will make a great commercial or two about their Maps app whereas no one will know about upgrades to Google Maps on Android.

      • emperor43

        you get update notifications for apps in general; and then after the update when you first open the google maps app you are notified of all the changes/new features; with over 100 million installs i don’t think google maps for android needs any more publicity then events like this one

        • ari_free

          OK then you will need to learn a bit more about effective marketing.

  • toomuchgame441

    Love google maps/earth… Favorite for sure

  • JamesS

    Google Air Force, how cool is that?!?


    Apples dropping of Google maps, the defacto standard in maps for zillions (already with street view, sat view, indoor view and now 3d) is further proof of Apple wasting money and resources on iCrap that does not need to be controlled by them!

    This maps move by Apple should piss off more and more iSheep who are already seeing how Apple uses and abuses them year after year with incremental upgrades and less features on a 1Phone that certainly does NOT rule them all…

    • Symbolic VFX

      Not really. By controlling their on map service, they can embed Siri, calendar and other apps into it like Android has done with their default apps.

      • RedPandaAlex

        It probably also means cross-platform app development will be even more complicated for location-based apps. And it might make it harder for, say, a foursquare app on one platform to talk to a foursquare app in the other.

        • emperor43

          what? there shouldn’t be any added complexity as long as apple doesn’t change how ios handles gps data because the backend would only change for the ios maps app .. all other apps should still function fine; but maybe apple will force app developers to use their maps service and yeah, then there will be problems even bigger then cross-platform development

      • emperor43

        they had this ability from the start, ios maps used google maps as backend, as in for maps data; the app was and is developed by apple which means that the missing features weren’t implemented by apple and not because of google

      • shonangreg

        If Apple does anything to wall off current google maps links and perhaps even API’s, then they are just going to end up fighting what is effectively a standard, like Adobe fighting html5.

        OTOH, if they can grab part of the market while adhering to some standard that inter-operates with existing google maps apps, links, etc., then we will all benefit.

  • JakeS41

    It’s funny to me that this is being shown on an iPad – ah, irony…

    • AgentMichaelScarn

      Definitely a deliberate move by Google. There was nothing here they couldn’t have waited until I/O to announce. It’s a shame, Google Maps is one of the best things on the internet. This event seemed like they are running a little scared.

      • redspear2

        Well if they didn’t do this and Apple made their announcement about 3D maps we would here about how Google copied Apple. Now that its happened this way you will not here about how Apple copied Google. Which is fair because they didn’t they just created their own map service with many similarities some more necessary than others. Just like what happens in every other industry.

  • Craig Becker

    appears to have fuct my google maps app on Galaxy Nexus with AOKP.

  • G-Money

    Want apple find this out they will rub steve jobs urn of ashes and ask ” what should we do steve google is trying to release a map system it’s better than ours?”

  • G-Money

    Apple will respond by grabbing Steve Jobs urn of ashes and ask while rubbing it “Steve! Google is going to release a better map system than ours what should we do?? And in a real creepy voice and a big cloud of smoke Steve will reply ” SUE THEM, ANDROID MUST DIE! SUE THEM NOOOOOWWWW!!!!!!! ” ; )

  • AGx

    If I could go to Apple’s event I would just stand in the audience and go “ahahhaaaaa hahaa hah haaaa hahahaaa” non-stop.

  • Ironhorse01

    I bet you apples will look better

    • ari_free

      Not after they’ve applied those instagram filters!