Maps Are Changing on Our Devices: Google Earth 3D is a Start

Basically I am not fond of change, which is really contradictory for me considering technology is all about change. This is my one haven where I love all the new everything. New apps, new gestures, new abilities, all tech-fun goodness.

But I worry about the Maps. I love maps. I think that Google street view is just about the most wonderous thing I’ve ever seen. You can explore places you’ll never see physically, or preview the neighborhood of a hotel you plan to use in the city you are going to visit.

I wrote a post about accessing Google’s Street View on your iPhone and iPad right here.

But now it appears that Maps will be changing. When Apple launches its new operating system this fall, Google will no longer be providing the maps for our devices. Apple will be supplying their own maps and they will include 3D flyovers in this iOS6 release.

Not to be scooped, Google has jumped in with its own 3D maps in their latest update for Google Earth.

Several cities are now viewable (flyable) in 3D in Google Earth: Los Angeles, Boston, Geneva, Rome, and San Francisco, with the announcement that more “are coming” in the next few weeks.

I updated my Google Earth app so I could check this out. It’s ok, but bluntly…. not great.

I did quite a bit of flying-around in these 3D cities, and I’m totally underwhelmed.

Buildings and roads look distorted, and I had to pause often and wait for my iPad to catch up and bring everything into focus.

Here is a 3D view of Boston, another of Rome, and one of San Francisco. You can see the streets are a tad wiggly, but overall these stills don’t look bad. It’s moving about that makes things slow and jumpy.

But I have hope! All things get improved. Just remember those little pixelated characters on early Atari games and compare those to the gorgeous graphics of today’s creations.

So, when you update your Google Earth, go ahead and do a flyover of Rome, or San Francisco, or Los Angeles, or Boston or Geneva.

And then ….. imagine how great this technology is GOING to be.

Google Earth is free in the iTunes store.


6 thoughts on “Maps Are Changing on Our Devices: Google Earth 3D is a Start

  1. Street view is so awesome. I use it even when I’m going to a local address that I’m not sure of, especially if it requires going through a dodgey area. I’m keen to see what the new 3D looks like – can’t wait to check it out.

    • I use it all the time, too. I’ll be visiting a city that’s new to me for the next few days, and I’ve been scouting out the neighborhood where I’ll be staying, and the path I’ll be walking to meet up with folks, etc. I even found a few stores and restaurants to check out just by looking at them on street view. It makes a “strange” place seem not-so-strange.

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