Google has announced at the “The Next Dimension of Google Maps” event that Google Maps will be finally coming to iOS, just as we had predicted.
At the event, Google announced three major features for Google Maps: Full 3D Maps, Offline mode and a new backpack Street View.
Google Maps will allow users to move around, rotate and interact with 3D models of several major cities. Google explained that they are using automated technology to extract 3D from aerial images taken from planes that fly in a tight pattern, equipped with their own hardware, taking 45-degree imagery. Google 3D Maps will cover areas with a combined population of 300 million people.
Google Maps for iOS will also include the 3D Maps feature. Google gave the demo of the 3D maps feature on an iPad, which was quite ironical.
Google also announced Offline mode for 3D maps, which will allow users to download offline maps of over 100 cities on their smartphones. It was one of the major drawbacks of the Google Maps app compared to other GPS navigation apps as it needed an internet connection to download live maps data and also ended up consuming expensive 3G data. The minimum size of the offline maps is expected to be around 50MB, so it would probably make sense to download them while you’re on your home or office Wi-Fi network. Unfortunately, the offline maps feature won’t be available to iOS users. Google has mentioned that they plan to add the feature in the future.
Google has also announced that it will be improving Street view by using a backback Street View rig, the Trekker to take images in places where you cannot drive like National parks, castles, Grand canyon etc.
It is widely speculated that Apple will be unveiling their own Maps app at the WWDC 2012 Keynote next week and Google’s announcements today seems to have confirmed it.
You can check out the video below to get a glimpse of what 3D imagery will look like on the iPhone: