August 8, 2012 | By: Marion Marketing

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The Future of Google Maps

Luc Vincent, Engineering Director for Google Street View, wearing the new Street View Trekker backpack while skiing in Lake Tahoe.

The Street View Trekker

The week before Apple dropped the app in favor of its own mapping system for IOS 6, Google Maps held a press event to announce new features and improvements.

So what is Google envisioning for the future?

Offline Mapping for Android Phones and Tablets

This feature allows users to download high resolution mapping information for a city they are visiting before leaving for a trip. The information can be saved to their phone or tablet, then opened when they get to their destination so they can find their way around even without an internet connection. This feature will be especially helpful for travelers who don’t want to use roaming data to find their way around. The familiar GPS tracking blue dot will still be there to help with navigation. Offline maps will be available for more than 100 countries.

3D Flyovers

Google wants to enhance the graphics of Google Earth by making them 3D. Google says it has contracted a fleet of small airplanes equipped with the Google Earth cameras. The planes fly around tall buildings and other landmarks, and in strips over the city capturing thousands of 3D images of different angles of every object and every piece of landscape. These images are later stitched together to create 3D models.

3D Google Earth mapping also comes with the introduction of a new user interface called Tour Guide. The feature will allow users to choose a location, then take a virtual flyover of modeled representations of locations and attractions. The company is “trying to create magic,” in the words of Google Earth Product Manager Peter Birch.

Improved Street View

Google is making Street View more comprehensive by taking the popular feature beyond the streets, railroads and rivers that have already been covered. Luc Vincent, Engineering Director for Google Street View, explained that Google has deployed various vehicles in addition to conventional cars to snap pictures of street-level scenes around the world. These include tricycles, ferry boats, trains and snowmobiles. Google also plans to upgrade Street View for walkable locations by utilizing the Trekker, which is a Street View camera in the form of a wearable backpack. It’s for taking photos where cars and other vehicles can’t go, such as along hiking trails.

Made just days before Apple’s preview of IOS 6, Google’s announcement was obviously a preemptive strike in the two companies’ map-based battle. If you have 51 minutes to spare, you can watch Google’s entire presentation here:

Whomever wins the “war of the mapping apps,” MARION, a Houston marketing agency, has online marketing services in Houston that can customize a digital marketing strategy for your business complete with a maps function to help users find you.

About Marion Marketing

MARION is a full-service marketing agency. We partner with customers to either supplement their existing marketing department or serve as their full outsourced marketing department. Our areas of expertise include branding and graphic design, online marketing and traditional marketing.

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