My Google Maps Wishlist

Google unveiled their ‘next dimension’ of Google Maps earlier this week, and the largest takeaway from their announcement was the inclusion of better 3D modeling in Google Earth.  Using measurements taken from airplanes, Google Earth will recreate the terrain and buildings to ensure that all buildings are captured and recreated in the virtual environment.  As I said in the previous post, I thought this would be a pretty cool addition, but I wanted to see something that would be relevant to everyone in the world, not just the selected areas where Google planes would fly overhead to collect the measurements.  Alas, that’s what we got, but I won’t complain much – it’s still pretty cool, although I doubt it will come to my neck of the woods any time soon.

But, you know what would be even more cool?  Some of my Google Maps wishlist items below.

Instant Routing Updates

Make a change to Google Maps in Map Maker (the service that allows users to edit Maps), and have the Maps products update immediately for better routing around traffic or construction.  Right now, routing updates can take months to roll out to all Maps products due to the computing power needed to produce directions.  Maybe an option to force an update, however?

Recent Satellite Imagery

Have satellite images automatically update when a better image is taken.  Right now, it seems this is a manual process and judgment call based on if a newer image is better than the other.  I would think that there would be some concrete method of determining this, however, since % cloud cover is already captured on many satellite images, as well as the average resolution of the image.  Any time we can get more updated imagery in our hands is good with me.  (After thinking about this for a while, I doubt this will ever be in place.  Google blurs a lot of high-security areas to prevent the use of the tool for nefarious purposes.)


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The Next Dimension

Google has announced that they will introduce the ‘next dimension’ of Google Maps tomorrow at 12:30 pm ET.  The event comes the week before Apple will likely announce that they will start to remove Google Maps from iOS.  So Google’s looking to make Apple regret that decision.  Much analysis has gone into what this ‘next dimension’ may be, but being a Google Maps addict, I am adding my speculation to the mix.

The Next Dimension – 3D from Street View?

So the next dimension that Google Maps would have in a literal sense would be 3D.  Already, you can see “2.5d” buildings in Google Maps, but these are fairly crude gray blocks.  Leveraging technology from their Street View cars, it would be nice to supplement these gray blocks with actual Street View images.  From my experience, though, it seems that the Street View images identify too many false positive buildings, from parked trucks to signs to people.  (Take a look at this by attempting to click on what Street View thinks is a flat surface.)  So, while this would be a nice next dimension, I doubt that this is what we will see tomorrow.


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