- Google announced a redesign for Google Maps in 220 countries.
- Google said it will use a new colour-mapping algorithmic technique for visually enhanced features.
- Google has also announced more detailed street features for select cities.
Google Maps is getting a redesign that will detail in the street features and help distinguish between natural features in the environment, whether they're mountainous ice caps, deserts, beaches, or dense forests. The new maps will be available in the 220 countries and territories currently supported by Google Maps. The detailed street map features will be made available in select cities.
"We're rolling out new visual improvements that bring even more detail and granularity to the map, making it easier to understand what an area looks like whether you're exploring virtually or planning a visit," Google said in an official blog post.
Google said it used satellite imagery and computer vision as the basis for its redesigned maps. Google applied a "new color-mapping algorithmic technique" to help users distinguish areas based on colours. For example, a densely covered forest can be classified as dark green and an area of patchy shrubs could appear as a lighter shade of green, Google noted. "First, we use computer vision to identify natural features from our satellite imagery, looking specifically at arid, icy, forested, and mountainous regions. We then analyse these features and assign them a range of colours on the HSV colour model," Google explained.
Google Maps is also adding more detail and granularity to make the features visually more prominent. "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 lush and green a place is with vegetation, and even see if there are snow caps on the peaks of mountain tops," Google said.
Google will start rolling out detailed street maps aimed at helping pedestrians in select cities. The street maps will be rolled out in London, New York, and San Francisco in the coming months. It is planning to expand this to more cities over time. The details include the accurate shape and width of a road to scale. Other details like the location of sidewalks and crosswalks will also be visible.
Earlier this month, Google reintroduced the Google Maps app for Apple Watch. Users will be able to use the Google Maps app on Apple Watch to navigate by car, bike, public transit or on foot. Google will also show estimated time arrival and step by step directions. Also, Google Maps is now compatible with the dashboard view on Apple's Carplay screens.