Yesterday we reported that Apple is preparing its own mapping software to replace Google Maps on new iPhone and iPad device, now Google has shot back, announcing a new Google Android platform that allows users to use maps while off-line.
The new interface allows users to select various cities and download their full maps. Before the download proceeds Google will tells users how large the map size is and provide download times to ensure bandwidth limitations are not exceeded by the user. Once a Google Map for Android is downloaded users can located themselves through their devices GPS and use the build-in compass on their phone to determine orientation.
Google also announced that map features will be updated to include new interactive models and 3D imagery of all cities, metro areas and communities. Google created the modeled interactive buildings by contracting out fleets of planes that fly over cities to capture perpendicular and 45-degree oblique shots.
While 3D imagery and models are not yet available Google suspects that those features will be made available for both Google Android and iOS devices. Google suspects that 300 million people-communities will be modeled by the end of the year with more to come in the future.
Showing off the flyover technology and 3D imagery Google displayed shots of San Francisco while promising that several other cities would be available at launch. Google did not reveal what other cities were currently receiving the fly-over 3D treatment or when the program would officially launch for those locations.