In a recent Google Maps press event by Google, Google announced that they have announced many new ways Google is collecting data for their Street View service and new functionality for its app.
For the past 5 years, Google said they have collected 20 petabytes of images for Google street view, covering 5 million unique miles. While Google has covered many countries in the world in the past 5 years, it is still not enough; they have announced that South Africa and Egypt street view will be launching today and 10 more nations later on.
After showing Google’s ability to know which locations you really mean based on your location and the ability to have maps of a foreign country in you native language, Google says that they have 800,000 developers using the Google Maps API and how the US government used Google’s Maps to help map out hurricane Katrina affected locations.
After the back story of Google Maps, Google moves on to talk about its mobile services. The big story from Google Maps for the mobile devices is that Google maps is going offline today, a long time requested, most requested feature. Google has said that Android version 2.2 (Froyo) and up (which includes Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich). While Google said that offline support is available right now, “It’s coming soon to Maps for Android.”
While Google updates its mobile functionality, Google also updated its capture system. With Google’s talks about its previous way of capturing street view data, which includes cars, bikes, train, boat, snowmobiles, and even museums; Google announced that the next street view capture tool is a backpack based capture tool. Weighting 40 pounds and two batteries that last a whole day, it is a massive beast to carry. Google plans to initially take it to the National Parks and remote locations where it was not possible. Google has also said that they are in plans of leasing the products to places and services that need them.
With the addition to the street view backpacks, Google also announced they have Google owned planes (Google owns planes?) and contracted planes to collect 3D map data. Google has said that the 3D will come to android and iOS in the coming weeks (guessing the same time when Google releases offline map data functionality to mobile devices).
While Google has released many great new data and functionality, we will have to see what Apple is going to do with Maps on iOS 6.