3D maps are coming to an Android handset near you…and maybe an iPhone. Yesterday, Google unveiled their all new 3D mapping system. It displays maps using something called “dynamic rendering”, and it lets Google render maps in real time. This equates to faster load times, smoother scrolling and yes, a 3D view of buildings that can be viewed and automatically orientated using the phone’s compass as you walk down the street.
Initially, 3D building will be available in 50 cities and does not, we repeat does not combine real pictures as found in Google Streetview. But we wouldn’t be surprised if they some how integrated the two in the future.
But what makes the Google Maps update really snazzy is its ability to work offline. In the event that you lose your wireless connection, Google Maps is instructed to locally store your most often used maps, allowing you to still navigate sans Internet connection. Which when you think about it is a bit flawed, because chances are you’ll need directions more often than not in cities you don’t live, a place where you probably don’t often use your handset. Nonetheless, perhaps a future feature will be the ability to preload maps as the users discretion, or we can only hope.
The update will supposedly roll out for the Galaxy S, Droid, Droid X, Droid 2, Droid Incredible, EVO 4G, Nexus S, and G2 in a few days, though we haven’t seen any official announcement as of yet. When and if it will actually arrive for the iPhone is anyone’s guess. We’re still waiting on free turn-by-turn directions.