June 6, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Google is planning two major changes to its mapping apps for Android. In the coming weeks, Google will unveil a new 3D image-based version of Google Earth that greatly improves on the current version, and will add new offline support for Google Maps for Android.
A soon to be released version of Google Maps will make Android’s most popular app available offline. At the moment, Maps requires an Internet connection to access cloud-based map data. A “Labs” feature in the current version offers some offline support by pre-caching map areas, but it is limited. The newer version with offline maps will support 10 square mile areas and be more reliable, allowing travelers to save on their data connection when roaming or have reliable access in shaky coverage areas. Google says that offline maps will be available in more than 100 countries “in the next few weeks.”
It works like this:
- Enter a city
- Press Action Bar and select “Make Available Offline”
- Pinch and zoom to select an area
- Access the List of saved cities to revisit areas
On the Google Earth front, a new 3D modeling system is coming to Android. Earth will now have better, higher-quality, very realistic 3D view of several major metropolitan areas throughout the world. Google uses a new rendering system that automatically create models based on 45-degree aerial imagery capture from multiple view points. The results are cityscapes that look like a huge improvement. Rather than just tell you, have a look for yourself below. Google hasn’t yet said when the new version of Earth would be available, but it plans to have coverage of cities with a combined population of 300 million people by the end of the 2012.