Google’s navigation app Google Maps is getting a visual upgrade. The latest update for Google Maps focuses on improving the visual quality and details of the default layer, especially the nature in Google Maps. Google Maps has three types of map layers – Default, Satellite, and Terrain. Google said that it is now leveraging a new colour-mapping algorithmic technique to translate its existing high-definition satellite imagery into the base map. Behind-the secnes, Google leveraged computer vision to identify natural features and them assign them a colour.
“Exploring a place gives you a look at its natural features – so you can easily distinguish tan, arid beaches and deserts from blue lakes, rivers, oceans, and ravines. You can know at a glance how luch and green a place is with vegetation, and even see if there are snow caps on the peak of mountaintops,” Google said while announcing the update. As an example, Google Maps will be show a dense forest as dark green, but an area of patchy shrubs gets a lighter shade. This process has been applied to all 220 countries and territories and over 100 million square kilometres of land. Google is touting Maps as having “the most comprehensive views of natural features on any major map app.”
Apart from nature, Google Maps will soon add a highly detailed street information that shows the accurate shape and width of a road to scale. “You can also see exactly where sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian islands are located–crucial information if you have accessibility needs, like wheelchair or stroller requirements,” Google said. This new street view will appear in cities like London, New York, and San Francisco over the coming months and then expand to other cities.