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Wednesday June 6, 2012 2:48 pm

Meet the new Google Maps: 3D, offline maps, more StreetView

Google Maps 3d

Google has announced a few nice updates to Google Maps that will be rolling out soon. For starters, expect offline maps to come to mobile Android and iOS devices. You'll be able to look up a map area in advance and select it to be made available offline. Maps will then indicate how much space it will take up on your device, and will download the content with your approval.

The second major feature is greatly-improved 3D maps. Thanks to planes shooting images at a 45 degree angle and from directly above, Google used stereophotogrammetry to combine the images to create 3D scenes. Google was able to demo this on an internal version of Google Earth for iPad, showing off the city of San Francisco in 3D.

Lastly, Google has created new StreetView cameras that are affixed to backpacks. This allows new data to be incorporated into Google Maps where it was previously unavailable. Think trails and other areas where people walk, but where cars and other vehicles aren't allowed.

Apple is set to announce its own mapping service next week at WWDC as part of iOS 6. Google still plans on bringing these new maps features to iOS, so we're guessing that it'll be submitting a dedicated Google Maps app for inclusion in the App Store to make that happen.

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