Google has rolled out a global update to its popular maps app to give the terrain a ‘more vibrant’, detailed and colorful look.
The visual makeover adds more detail and makes natural features easier to see, such as beaches, deserts, lakes or snowcaps on the peaks of mountain peaks.
The updates give Google “ one of the most comprehensive displays of natural features on any major mapping app, ” the tech giant said.
The new design is available this week in all 220 countries and areas that Google Maps supports.
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Google implements visual enhancements that bring even more detail and granularity to the map. This before and after Croatia in Maps shows more landscape details. Users can clearly distinguish the beaches and greenery along the coast of Croiatia and the nearby islands such as Hvar
“ We’re introducing new visual enhancements that make the map even more detailed and detailed, making it easier to understand what an area looks like, whether you’re exploring virtually or planning a visit, ” said Sujoy Banerjee, Google Maps product manager in a commentary. blog post.
‘With a new algorithmic color mapping technique, we are able to translate these images into an even more extensive, vibrant map of an area on a global scale.
‘Exploring a place gives you a glimpse into its natural features – so you can easily distinguish brown, arid beaches and deserts from blue lakes, rivers, oceans and ravines.
Iceland’s mountains and glaciers are better represented by the new update, coming out this week
‘You can see at a glance how lush and green a place with vegetation is, and even see if there are snow caps on the tops of mountain peaks.
Google has used a new algorithmic color mapping technique to visually enrich the service that was launched 15 years ago.
In Iceland, for example, Vatnajökull, the country’s largest ice sheet, is now shown in white, while rocky areas of the country in the north are light brown.
The hoods, ridges, and surrounding vegetation of Mount Rainer National Park in the US are also more visible, meanwhile.
Before and after shows additional detail added to Morocco on the west coast of Africa, including dense vegetation in the north
With this update, Google Maps has ‘one of the most comprehensive displays of natural features on any major map app’
Previously, the color coding on Maps was largely limited to green and brown, with areas lightly shaded to indicate urban centers.
Before the update, Google used computer vision to identify natural features from satellite images, looking specifically at arid, icy, forested, and mountainous areas.
It then analyzed these features and assigned a range of colors on the HSV color model (hue, saturation, value).
HSV was developed in the 1970s as an update of the more primitive primary colored RGB color model (red, blue, green).
This means that a densely covered forest can be depicted as dark green, while an area of patchy shrubs takes on a lighter shade of color.
Mount Rainer National Park in the USA. The update aims to make it easier for users to understand what an area looks like when planning a visit
Sedona, Arizona in the USA. The new update (right) recognizes the desert landscape and shows more clearly where Red Rock State Park is
With this update, Google hopes to give users a clearer idea of what to expect from the site before traveling and ‘get a feel for an area’.
Google also revealed that a more detailed street scene is also in the pipeline, starting with London, New York and San Francisco in the coming months, with plans to expand to more cities over time.
This update will show the accurate shape and width of a road to scale, Google said, so people can see exactly where amenities such as sidewalks, crosswalks and pedestrian islands are located.
This is critical information for Maps users who have accessibility needs such as wheelchair or stroller requirements, he said.
These details will also be particularly helpful during the coronavirus pandemic as more people are choosing to walk or take other forms of solo transportation.
Google Maps, launched in 2005, is used by more than 1 billion people every month, the company said.
15 YEARS OF GOOGLE MAPS
A shot of Google Maps as it looked when it launched 15 years ago. Google says the service has since ‘redefined what it means to be a card’
– On February 8, 2005, Google Maps was first launched for desktop as a new solution to help people “get from point A to point B”.
– Just a few months later, Google Earth was launched, with 3D renderings of the planet. Today, Google Earth contains more than 36 million square miles of high-definition satellite images.
– In December 2005, Portland, Oregon became the first city to use the Transit Trip Planner, giving commuters insight into public transit schedules and routes. It started as a standalone product, but eventually collapsed into Google Maps.
An early version of traffic conditions in Maps for desktop. Two years after its launch, Google Maps introduced real-time information on traffic conditions for more than 30 US cities
About two years after the launch of Google Maps, the company introduced real-time traffic condition information for more than 30 US cities.
– Google Street View debuted on May 29, 2007. Many of us will remember seeing a Google car drive by to capture images of the streets.
– In November 2007, Maps became mobile. Google has released version 2.0 of Google Maps for mobile, available for Blackberry, Palm devices and others. The first Android app was launched in 2008, followed by the iOS app in 2012.
Google Trekkers could help fill the gaps in Google Maps by carrying a 360-degree camera in a backpack on hiking trips
– In 2012, it introduced the Street View Trekker, which allows people to capture hard-to-reach images on foot using high-tech equipment packed in a backpack.
– In November 2015, Google launched Offline Maps, allowing offline users to still take advantage of Google’s directions and search for specific destinations.
– In February 2019, Live View, which uses augmented reality to help users understand which way to walk, came with clearly visible arrows and directions.
Augmented reality in Google Maps helps users reach their destination