The official blog for Google Maps
Explore the world with tour guide and 3D imagery in Google Earth 7
October 31, 2012
A few months ago, we announced
Google Earth for mobile
, which offered new ways to see cities in 3D and a new tour guide feature to help you discover places of interest on the go. Starting today, you can get both of those features on a bigger screen that makes it even easier to explore by downloading
Google Earth 7
on your desktop. Check out the comprehensive and accurate tours of more than 11,000 popular sites around the world, including our growing list of cities where new 3D imagery is available.
The new tour guide feature in Google Earth 7
feature serves as a local expert, suggesting nearby places you might want to explore and helping you learn about those locations. For whichever area you’re viewing in Google Earth, thumbnails highlighting pre-created tours in the same area will dynamically update at the bottom of the screen. Simply click on one of the tours, and you’ll embark on a virtual flyover of famous, historical and cultural sites close by. Educational and fun facts from Wikipedia will also appear on the screen as you fly in and around locations like the Great Wall of China,
Stonehenge, and more.
New 3D imagery of Munich, Germany
In addition, Google Earth 7 now includes the comprehensive, accurate 3D imagery we’ve already made available on
Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Lawrence, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Tampa, Tucson, Rome and the San Francisco Bay Area (including the Peninsula and East Bay).
And today, we’re adding more 3D imagery for a handful of metropolitan regions including Avignon, France; A
The experience of flying through these areas and seeing the buildings, terrain and even the trees rendered in 3D is now consistent across both mobile and desktop devices -- making all of your virtual travels more realistic than ever.
Download Google Earth 7
and be sure to check out the
Google Earth website
for more tips and tricks.
Posted by Peter Birch, Google Earth Product Manager
Announcing the winners of 2012 Google Earth Outreach Developer Grants
October 31, 2012
(Cross posted from Geo Developer Blog)
In 2011, Google Earth Outreach
a new program to fund nonprofits that want to create cutting-edge maps for public good. Today, we’re excited to announce the winners of the
2012 Google Earth Outreach Developer Grants program
. We’ve selected eight nonprofit organizations, listed below, that have presented a compelling ideas for a new map or mapping technology that will make a positive impact on the world. Each winner received a grant to support the technical development of their map. The winners include:
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
- A Developing World: a Maps API application containing UN Human Development Index data
Clinton Health Access Initiative
- Getting to Zero in Southern Africa: A Temporal and Spatial Map of Malaria Progress
- Rainwater Harvesting Tool: Calculate Your Drinking Water using Google Maps
- Cherokee Trails: Google Earth tours, a map, and an Android app documenting Cherokee Indian geography and the struggle of the Cherokee to remain in their homeland.
-Change of States Map: a Maps API application documenting local impacts and adaptations to climate change in the US.
Vanishing Worlds Foundation / World Oral Literature Project / Language Landscape - Language Landscape:
an Extensible Model for Mapping Language Dynamics
the Jane Goodall Institute
- Community-based Forest & Wildlife Monitoring: Scaling Up and Sharing Dynamically Generated Maps
Atlantic Public Media
- Monarch Migration: a Google Earth Tour
Work is already in progress on each of the projects, so check back on our
page in the coming months to see these maps come to life, and to explore maps created by last year’s grantees.
Watch this video to see an example of a Google Earth Tour made possible by the 2011 Developer Grants program is the
Arctic Tern Migration
, created by the Atlantic Public Media.
We’re very excited about the organizations that were funded this year, and we wish to thank these hardworking organizations who are improving conditions for people and the planet.
Posted by Tanya Birch, Google Earth Outreach
*These organizations were funded through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund at the
Add your Photo Sphere images to Google Maps with Android 4.2
October 29, 2012
Remember the last time you went on a hike, triumphantly reached the lookout point, and took out your camera to snap a few photos? Odds are that somehow, the pictures weren’t able to fully convey your experience of standing at the top of the peak with the rolling hills surrounding you, the vibrant blue skies above, and the rocky terrain beneath your feet.
Now, with Photo Sphere, the new camera mode that’s part of the latest version of
Android 4.2, Jelly Bean
, you can photograph an entire scene—up, down, and all around—to create a 360º immersive experience.
View Larger Map
Explore immersive 360º Photo Spheres such as Vernal Falls in Yosemite Valley
You can easily choose to share your Photo Spheres to Google Maps so the entire world can enjoy the beauty of your favorite places. Your images will help make Google Maps more comprehensive, and enable other travelers to get an accurate preview of a location before they arrive.
Blue circle icons indicate where user-contributed Photo Spheres are available directly on Google Maps for desktop. They’re also discoverable on
, which highlights some of the most incredible imagery from photographers around the world. Your geotagged Photo Spheres will be attributed to your Google+ profile name when you choose to share them on Google Maps. Of course, you also have the option of sharing them just with your friends and family through your Google+ circles.
Look for the blue circle icon to explore user-contributed panoramas on Google Maps
Whether you want to highlight your favorite places, show off your photography skills, or just help other Google Maps users see and experience a particular location, now sharing your Photo Spheres is just a few taps away on your Android device!
To learn more about creating Photo Spheres please visit
. We can’t wait to see your favorite spots on Google Maps!
Posted by Evan Rapoport, Product Manager, Google Maps
New Crisis Response maps feature preparedness information for Hurricane Sandy
October 28, 2012
Nov. 1, 2012
We're constantly looking for ways to improve our ability to help in a crisis. Please tell use how you're using the Superstorm Sandy Crisis Map:
Already responsible for a reported 41 deaths across the Caribbean, late-season Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall again early this week on the East Coast of the United States.
Some are calling the hurricane “Frankenstorm” due to its potential mix of both winter and tropical cyclone weather. Regardless of what you call it, we hope that you get the information you need to make preparations and stay safe if you are in the area. It has the potential to be one of the worst storms the area has seen in decades.
The Google Crisis Response team has assembled a
map to help you track the storm’s progress and provide updated emergency information.
View larger map
On the map, you’ll find the following emergency preparedness information:
, including the hurricane’s current and forecasted paths, courtesy of the
NOAA-National Hurricane Center
, including evacuation notices, storm warnings, and more, via
Radar and cloud imagery
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
and recovery centers will appear as they become operational
and storm-related YouTube videos, curated by
We’ve also launched a map specific to New York City, featuring evacuation zone information from
NYC Open Data
, open shelters, weather information and live webcams.
View larger map
You can easily share and embed these maps on your website — just hit the “Share” button at the top of the map to get the HTML code. We’ll continue to update these maps as more information becomes available.
Posted by Ka-Ping Yee, Software Engineer, Google Crisis Response
Get a better view of natural geography with Google Maps
October 26, 2012
When you look at Google Maps, we want you to see the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-understand representation of the entire world. Today, we’re unveiling some visual improvements to the basemap that will help enable that goal.
now clearly shows terrain, color gradations to depict vegetation, and labels for natural land formations. This enriched visual data allows you to quickly and easily see where the great forests, deserts, and mountain ranges around the world begin and end. It also conveys how natural land formations can impact where, how and why man-made developments like urban cities, dams and bridges are made.
For example, here’s how
appeared before terrain and vegetation information was added:
And on the improved map below, you can now clearly see the dry deserts of Pakistan, the rocky Himalayas, and the rich jungles of Laos.
Another great example is the area north of
. Here’s how it appeared before:
And here’s the same area that now accurately shows the mountainous and rocky terrain in that area, immediately providing insight into why cities and settlements have been developed further south, rather than in the hilly landscape.
In addition to terrain and vegetation information, labels for large natural features are also now available when searching on Google Maps. Ever wonder where the
is? A previous search on Google Maps provided the below result:
But now, helpful labels provide more clarity:
So when you search Google Maps for dozens of natural land formations like the
, you’ll see improved, well-labeled results.
We hope this new visual information literally provides you with a more comprehensive and accurate lay of the land, and comes in handy whether you’re planning a trip or just browsing the map. From lush rolling hills to expansive deserts, just click and explore!
Posted by Karl Johann Schmidt, Software Engineer, Google Maps
Trekking the Grand Canyon for Google Maps
October 24, 2012
In our ongoing effort to create the perfect map—one that’s as comprehensive, accurate and easy to use as possible—we’ve gone well beyond just the streets. Through the Street View feature on
, you’ve been able to explore panoramic views of amazing places around the world ranging from
the Swiss Alps
, and a variety of
Today, demonstrating the rocky and rugged paths we’ll travel to make Google Maps even more complete, we’re collecting imagery from a place no
car, trike or snowmobile
has ever been before. On its first official outing, the Street View team is using the
—a wearable backpack with a camera system on top—to traverse the Grand Canyon and capture 360-degree images of one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes on the planet.
Operations Manager Steve Silverman (left) and Product Manager Ryan Falor (right)
hiking the Bright Angel Trail on the South Rim with Trekkers
The narrow ridges and steep, exposed trails of the Grand Canyon provide the perfect terrain for our newest camera system. The Trekker—which its operator controls via an Android phone and automatically gathers photos as he walks—enables the collection of high-quality imagery from places that are only accessible on foot.
Falor controlling the Trekker with his Android device
This week, photos are being gathered from portions of the South Rim at
Grand Canyon National Park
, including the ridge, the famous
Bright Angel Trail
South Kaibab Trail
, and more. These panoramic views will soon be live on Google Maps, giving everyone from real-life visitors to armchair travelers the opportunity to marvel at this beautiful, majestic site from the comfort of their computers or mobile devices.
The team hiking the Bright Angel Trail
So get ready for the virtual adventure that awaits! And in the meantime, we’ll keep on trekken’ and working hard to bring you panoramic imagery of more visually stunning places we have yet to explore and share on Google Maps.
Posted by Ryan Falor, Product Manager, Google Street View
Expanded coverage of building footprints in Google Maps
October 18, 2012
As we go about our daily travels, we often rely on buildings to orient ourselves, locate landmarks and navigate from place to place. So today, we’re expanding the coverage of building footprints that are already available in
Now, you can see 25 million new building footprints that have been added to Google Maps on desktop and mobile across major metropolitan regions in the United States, including Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and the San Francisco Bay Area. This expansion is part of our ongoing effort to provide you with maps that are as comprehensive as possible.
Before (left) and after (right) screenshots of the map in Houston, Texas, now with building footprints
A neighborhood complete with building footprints in San Diego, California
These building footprints, complete with height detail, are algorithmically created by taking aerial imagery and using computer vision techniques to render the building shapes. This process enables us to provide more building footprints and a more comprehensive and detailed map than ever before.
For areas that you’re familiar with, you can also help ensure that the building footprints are accurate and up-to-date by using our community mapping tool,
Google Map Maker
. In addition to improving the shapes, you can also
your favorite local business to an existing building or draw the building footprint for that business using Map Maker.
For example, I enjoy exploring and updating the map around Detroit, Michigan, where I lived for many years. Now, whenever I go back for a virtual visit, I won’t have to imagine where all the buildings were in my old neighborhood since their footprints have been added for the world to see on Google Maps!
Posted by Bobby Parikh, Engineering Manager
Google Map Maker
Google’s data centers: an inside look
October 17, 2012
(Cross posted from the
Official Google Blog
Very few people have stepped inside Google’s data centers, and for good reason: our first priority is the privacy and security of your data, and we go to great lengths to protect it, keeping our sites under close guard. While we’ve shared many of our
designs and best practices
, and we’ve been
publishing our efficiency data since 2008
, only a small set of employees have access to the server floor itself.
Today, for the first time, you can see inside our data centers and pay them a virtual visit. On
Where the Internet lives
, our new site featuring beautiful photographs by
, you’ll get a never-before-seen look at the technology, the people and the places that keep Google running.
In addition, you can now explore our Lenoir, NC data center at your own pace in Street View. Walk in the
, head up the stairs, turn right at the ping-pong table and head down the hall to the
data center floor
. Or take a stroll around the
of the facility to see our energy-efficient cooling infrastructure. You can also watch a video tour to learn more about what you're viewing in Street View and see some of our equipment in action.
Finally, we invited author and
to talk to the architects of our infrastructure and get an unprecedented look at its inner workings. His
is an exploration of the history and evolution of our infrastructure, with a first-time-ever report from the floor of a Google data center.
Fourteen years ago, back when Google was a student research project, Larry and Sergey powered their new search engine using a few cheap, off-the-shelf servers stacked in
. We’ve grown a bit since then, and we hope you enjoy this glimpse at what we’ve built. In the coming days we’ll share a series of posts on the
Google Green Blog
that explore some of the photographs in more detail, so stay tuned for more!
Posted by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure
Making Google Maps more comprehensive with biggest Street View update ever
October 11, 2012
Today we’re making our Street View coverage more comprehensive than ever before by launching our biggest ever update--doubling our number of special collections and updating over 250,000 miles of roads around the world. We’re increasing Street View coverage in Macau, Singapore, Sweden, the U.S., Thailand, Taiwan, Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway and Canada. And we’re launching special collections in South Africa, Japan, Spain, France, Brazil and Mexico, among others.
Hey World, are you ready for your close up?
You can explore our many new places directly in Google Maps, including parks, city centers, castles and tourist attractions like
in Russia, the
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
in Taiwan, or
in Vancouver. You can even walk through the urban jungle of Singapore's
Fort Canning Park
, without ever leaving home.
, Taroko National Park, Taiwan
To see, or not to see?
Street View, as you know, is a useful resource when you’re planning a route or looking for a destination, but it can also magically transport you to some of the world’s picturesque and culturally significant landmarks.
On the walls of Elsinore Castle, nestled on the northeastern coast Helsingør in Denmark, Bernardo and Francisco uttered the opening words to William Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy. The castle known locally as Kronborg and immortalised by Hamlet, provided the setting for the Prince of Denmark to play out his personal battle with madness, grief and searing rage. Today we’re also launching images from inside
and its surroundings, so you can discover for yourself the inspiration behind Shakespeare’s masterpiece.
The courtyard of
We hope you enjoy taking a virtual stroll around some of the world’s beautiful places, and stay tuned for more Street View updates as we look to make our maps more comprehensive and useful for you. To learn more, visit:
Posted by Ulf Spitzer, Street View Program Manager
Street View comes to Google Maps on your Mobile Browser
October 4, 2012
To make Google Maps even more comprehensive, accurate and useful, today we’re making Street View available on mobile browsers. With access to Street View on your phone, you can use panoramic, street-level imagery to explore and navigate the places around you, even on the go.
Times Square, New York
District Wine Bar, San Francisco
Starting today, use Street View on your mobile browser to check out a new shop across town or get a feel for the ambiance at a restaurant before you arrive. To use Street View on your mobile browser simply go to maps.google.com and search for a location. Then click the “pegman” icon at the bottom right of your screen to access Street View. And to view still more helpful imagery, such as a photos shared by users or interior panoramas, visit the business’ Google+ Local page.
Access Street View by clicking on the “pegman” icon
Also, transit, driving, biking and walking directions continue to be available on your mobile browser to help you help guide you to your destination.
For quick access to Google Maps on iOS devices, you can save a bookmark to your home screen. Simply click “Save to Home Screen” on the bottom of the page when you’re in Google Maps, or follow the instructions
Posted by Amanda Leicht, Product Manager Google Maps
Building great websites and apps with the Google Maps API
October 3, 2012
We’re constantly working to build the most comprehensive, accurate and usable maps in the world for our users--no matter where or how they access Google Maps. While millions of people come directly to
to search for a nearby business or get directions, many people around the globe experience Google Maps on their favorite website or application thanks to the
Google Maps API
(and some very talented developers). In fact, today 800,000 active websites and apps are using the Google Maps API to create interesting and useful experiences for you.
To demonstrate the capabilities and features of the Google Maps API, today we’re launching a new website called
. This site showcases the unique features of the Google Maps API and how developers are using it.
to learn more!
you’ll learn how developers can embed popular Google Maps features like Street View, public transit directions, location data, and advanced data visualization capabilities into their website or app. The interactive demos on
show how these features are ready to be added to any website or app.
Developers can use the Google Maps API to embed Street View imagery into their sites and apps
Even if you’re not a developer, the animated
London Heathrow flight
global population heat map
are a fun way to visualize data and explore the power of Google Maps.
Google Maps Developers Stories from Around the World
Morethanamap.com also features stories from our community of developers who are using the Google Maps API to
help improve their communities
save the environment
. Starting next week we’ll showcase these stories weekly on the
Geo Developers Blog
. And follow us
to learn more.
With just a
backpack and a camera
Google Maps team member
went on a global tour to video blog six distinct developers who are creating thriving applications with the Google Maps API.
Start exploring what’s possible with the Google Maps API today at:
Posted by Ken Hoetmer, Google Maps API Product Manager
Google Maps API
Google Maps Roundup for September: Making Google Maps even better for you
October 1, 2012
As always, we’re focused on making Google Maps the best it can be for people around the world. In September, we added many new features to Google Maps, introduced new Street View imagery, and made existing imagery even more accurate so people have access to the most comprehensive maps possible. A few highlights from September are below:
Expansion of Google Maps features in more places
To help motorists save time and reduce stress on the road, we expanded
Google Maps Navigation (Beta)
with voice guided, turn-by-turn directions to thousands of towns across
and nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa. To help drivers even more, we’ve added
live traffic conditions
for major roads in India as well as in the cities of
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City, Kuwait; and Guayaquil, Ecuador
, local cyclists can now access biking directions directly on Google Maps and use Map Maker to add bike lanes and trails if their favorite route is missing or they discover a new one. Beyond biking trails, Map Maker can also be used to make the New Zealand map more accurate with details such as new road names, building footprints and more.
We’re now working with more than
50 venues in France
, including shopping malls, retailers, airports and museums, to have their indoor floor plans appear on Google Maps for Android.
Access to new, amazing places with Street View
We released the very
first underwater panoramic images
to Google Maps, highlighting six locations in Australia, Hawaii, and the Philippines, such as
Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef
Molokini Crater in Hawaii
. This amazing imagery, which captured by our partner, The Catlin Seaview Survey, enables anyone around the world to “swim” around and explore these amazing reefs without ever getting wet.
In our effort to make Google Maps more comprehensive, we launched imagery of
two of Japan’s top scientific institutions
: the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan).
And in the spirit of back to school, we released new Street View imagery for more than
150 university campuses globally
More high-quality imagery
We continue to release updated and new imagery on
a regular basis
. Most recently, we
updated aerial imagery in Google Earth and Maps
for more than more than 170 countries/regions. In addition, Google Maps now includes
for 80 additional locations around the world. This
is one of the many ways we’re continuing to bring you the most accurate maps possible.
Posted by Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps and Earth
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