Google just held an event on Maps and Mapping, one of the biggest features announced was that they are bringing Offline mode to the Google Maps app for Android, this feature has been available as a Google Lab for a while where you could download a 10-square mile area for viewing offline but this will now be a standard feature of the maps app. You will have to have the foresight to download the map, so it’s usable offline but still usability wise that is a pretty cool feature.
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.
Google has also announced another cool feature : 3D modelling in Google Earth on mobile devices, they advised that they will start adding 3D Models to metropolitan areas in Google Earth, using a technique which involves flying planes over areas and photographing them at a 45° angle, Google then they us this imagery to create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping they aim to have the 3D Modelling cover metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.
Looking pretty good, the timing of this maps event seems to be pretty strategically placed with Apple about to run their WWDC event where they are rumoured to be dropping Google Maps in favour of their own solution, I’m pretty sure Google would have preferred to run this event where they could release the Android app complete with the new offline mode feature the same day they announced it, oh well we`ll have to wait a couple of weeks, but from all indications the wait will be worth it.