Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th Jun 2012 21:19 UTC
Google Google held its curious little Maps event today (and WWDC is right around the corner, surely a coincidence, is it not?), showing off some new stuff in maps. While digital maps are one big snore to me (old maps fascinate me to no end, though), they did have one cool thing to show off: full 3D mapping, which they're adding to Google Earth, also for mobile devices. It'll arrive over the coming weeks. The race is on: will Apple's 3D map thing arrive before, or after "the coming weeks"?
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Offline
by robmv on Wed 6th Jun 2012 21:40 UTC
robmv
Member since:
2006-08-12

The best feature for me of this update is:

People have been asking for the ability to use our maps offline on their mobile phones. So today we’re announcing that offline Google Maps for Android are coming in the next few weeks. Users will be able to take maps offline from more than 100 countries. This means that the next time you are on the subway, or don’t have a data connection, you can still use our maps.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Offline
by zima on Fri 8th Jun 2012 00:19 UTC in reply to "Offline"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Finally; took them long enough. Well, that pretty much retires one major remaining Nokia advantage... (though the data of Nokia Maps is still nicely more detailed in my area, includes even dirt or forest roads - useful on bike trips; I imagine that might be the case in many places outside of few core Google markets)

Reply Score: 2

No use for a 3d textured map on a phone
by dvhh on Thu 7th Jun 2012 05:20 UTC
dvhh
Member since:
2006-03-20

I think the level of information provided by 3d texture map, while cool looking, is an absolute mess in term of usability, because they don't provide extra information ( compared to stylized 3d model, or street view), Even for navigation, there is little chance that you would use this view in normal life ( except if we have our flying cars earlier than expected ).

I would say that Google (map division) is afraid of Apple, meaning it would be half baked.

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

The worst is that standard multi-touch controls do not properly handle 3D rotations. They only deal well with zooming and rotations along an axis that is perpendicular to the screen.

So either this feature will be relatively useless, as users cannot really benefit from the extra depth, or software engineers will try to use nonstandard gestures (e.g. three-finger swipes) to handle 3D rotations and it might turn out to be a usability disaster instead ("Oh, great, I don't know how I did that, now how can I go back to a top view ?")

I'm not optimistic.

Edited 2012-06-07 14:21 UTC

Reply Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

There's always accelerometer / gyroscope, with which you can "look around" using the phone as a visor of sorts; like already in streetview.
Perhaps could map also to 3D map rotations.

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I'm not sure that looking around would be very practical for a maps app. I don't know how others use those, but myself I mainly need it while walking, sitting in a bus/train, or cycling, and in those situations waving my arm across wide angles definitely wouldn't be a satisfactory option.

Maybe they could try something based on screen tilting, kind of like that gimmicky animation of the stock photo gallery app on Android, but on shiny LCD screens things can quickly become unreadable when you try that on a sunny day...

Edited 2012-06-08 12:18 UTC

Reply Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Maybe they could try something based on screen tilting

Yeah that's more or less what I mean - anyway, people don't really wave their phone at arms length with streetview: the movements tend to be as minimal as possible; we are lazy creatures ;p

Now I also wonder if we'll see "back touchpad" like in Sony Vita - two additional axis there could be handy in "more 3D" control situations (and isn't that sort of the point behind Android's open architecture & many handsets, to make experiments easier and possibly increase the pace of innovation?)

Edited 2012-06-14 00:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2