Google is combining its high-definition satellite imagery with a new 'color-mapping algorithmic technique' to bring more detail to users.
What you need to know
Google Maps is getting new visual improvements that will allow users to better understand the landscape of an area.
In addition to natural features, Maps will soon show you the accurate shape and width of a road 'to scale' in select cities.
The new visual improvements will begin rolling out to users globally this week.
Google Maps is getting a few new visual improvements that will give users a more colorful and accurate view of an area. When you zoom out on Google Maps, you will now see a new "natural features" view, which will let you easily distinguish features such as lakes, beaches, deserts, rivers, and oceans. Google says Maps now offers the most comprehensive views of natural features on any map app. The new "natural features" view will be available in 220 countries and territories starting this week.
Sujoy Banerjee, Product Manager, Google Maps, wrote in a blog post:
Google Maps has high-definition satellite imagery for over 98 percent of the world's population. With a new color-mapping algorithmic technique, we're able to take this imagery and translate it into an even more comprehensive, vibrant map of an area at global scale. 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 mountaintops.
Aside from natural features, Google Maps will soon show you highly detailed street information in select cities. In the coming months, users in London, New York, and San Francisco will be able to see the "accurate shape and width of a road to scale." Users will also be able to see sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian islands more easily. Over time, these features are expected be expanded to more cities across the world.