Google Maps is getting an update that the company says will bring new visual improvements, offering “even more details and granularity” and making it easier to understand what an area looks like. According to Google, the incoming update incorporates a new color-mapping algorithm that can translate high-definition satellite imagery into more colorful, vibrant maps.
“Exploring a place gives you a look at its natural features – so you can easily distinguish 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 mountaintops”, Google said on its official blog.
The company says it used computer vision to identify natural features from satellite imagery before assigning them a range of colors on the HSV color model. “For example, a densely covered forest can be classified as dark green, while an area of patchy shrubs could appear as a lighter shade of green”, said Google.
The company further claims that Google Maps now has one of the most comprehensive views of natural features on any major map app. The new look is available for all 220 countries and territories that Google Maps supports, covering 100 million square kilometers of land. The updated map with more vibrant visuals is visible across all areas, from big cities to small rural towns.
Google also says that Maps will soon bring highly detailed street information that shows the accurate shape and width of a road to scale. “You can also see exactly where sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian islands are located–crucial information if you have accessibility needs, like wheelchair or stroller requirements”, the company said. The detailed street maps will start rolling out in London, New York and San Francisco in the coming months before expanding to more cities in the future.