Google Maps is getting a significant update that will bring more detail and granularity to its map, with changes that encompass both natural features and city-level details alike.
Instead, Google says the new maps will roll out to NY, SF and London in the “coming months. ” The vague time frame is due to the staged nature of the release — something that’s often necessary for larger apps.
Meanwhile, users both inside and outside big cities around the world will benefit from the changes to how natural features are presented in Google Maps.
While the added granularity won’t include more accessibility features, like curb cuts for example, Google says that having the crosswalks detailed on the map will help in that area.
These changes will reach all 220 countries and territories that Google Maps supports — over 100M square kilometers of land, from bigger metros to rural areas and small towns.
For the former, Google says it’s leveraged computer vision techniques to analyze natural features from satellite imagery, then color-coded those features for easier visual reference.
The company notes that after the first three cities receive the update, it plans to roll out more detailed city maps to additional markets, including those outside the U. S.
Google utilized a color-mapping technique to identify natural features from its satellite imagery, looking specifically at arid, icy, forested, and mountainous regions.
Google Maps reaches over a billion users worldwide, so changes can take time to scale.
And Apple is battling Google Maps’ explore and discovery features through its expanded, curated guides built with the help of partners.
The company also notes that Google Maps today displays wheelchair accessible routes in transit and wheelchair attributes on business pages.
These updates have pushed Google to race ahead with improvements of its own in order to maintain its lead in maps.
The updated city maps won’t show up immediately in the Google Maps app, we understand.