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Today, Google unveiled three new pioneering features coming to Google Maps, which promise to improve the service's user experience and scope: offline maps, more Street View shots, and better 3D imaging.
The capability to save maps offline is coming soon to Google Maps Android.
Users can now download an entire street map (London is pictured above) and refer to it without the need for an Internet connection.
Luc Vincent, engineering director of Google Street View, shows off "The Trekker," a camera backpack that weighs 40 pounds and runs on two lithium ion batteries.
The Trekker will bring new locations to Street View once previously thought of as inaccessible, from the hiking trails in Yosemite to the alleyways of Venice.
Using planes flying in tight patterns, Google hopes to improve its Google Maps 3D feature by equipping these planes with its own hardware and having them take oblique image photos.
Using stereophotogrammetry, Google can reconstruct an entire city (San Francisco's City Hall is seen here) in 3D.
After generating a textured 3D mesh for each building, Google's 3D imagery is complete and the company promises more improvements in details and consistency.