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Build immersive maps at scale with Photorealistic 3D, 2D, and Street View Tiles, now in GA

Google Maps Platform is moving their Photorealistic 3D Tiles, 2D Tiles, and Street View Tiles into general availability, enabling developers to build immersive maps in production environments. You can access these features through the Map Tiles API.

Photorealistic 3D Tiles

Since our Experimental launch back in May 2023, developers across industries have used Photorealistic 3D Tiles to create powerful visual map experiences. While some are using Photorealistic 3D Tiles to illustrate future land developments with a realistic 3D backdrop, others are extending their 2D maps to 3D to help better communicate spatial patterns with more intuitive map views. Developers are also using Photorealistic 3D Tiles to create location-based AR experiences and to create branded immersive maps to drive customer engagement. Here are some applications developers have built:

Real estate and urban planning

BNP Paribas Real Estate, a European commercial property company, uses Photorealistic 3D Tiles to create a data visualisation experience that shows today’s and tomorrow’s cities across Europe. The solution merges their own data and public open data to give a holistic view of the city to urban planners, investors, and commercial real estate customers. The visualisation shows 3D cityscapes, overlaid with BNP Paribas Real Estate’s information about properties available on the market and local points of interest. It even shows how the city might change in the future based on transportation, building, and market forecasts. With this experience, BNP Paribas Real Estate hopes to give property customers and developers valuable market insights. They will continue adding geo datasets related to cities’ sustainability, demographic density, quality of life, housing, or economic landscape.

Augmented reality (AR)

Alberto Taiuti, an augmented reality expert passionate about geospatial applications, used Photorealistic 3D Tiles to create a real-time guided tour editor of Florence, Italy from his browser. In the image below, you’ll see a demo of Alberto building the experience. On the left, Alberto is dropping pins on popular locations in Florence where they appear and move in real-time to help guide his brother (who’s there) using augmented reality. This image illustrates the viability of shared multiplayer map experiences that can connect people who are in different locations–even across the world. There are potential applications in gaming, tourism, or even site exploration for community development projects.

Demo of Alberto building the real-time guided tour editor of Florence, Italy from his browser

Architectural design

Geopogo, a software company that builds location-based AR tools for architectural and urban design workflows, is using Photorealistic 3D Tiles to give architects, urban planners, and commercial developers the ability to visualise their designs in cities around the world. Using Photorealistic 3D Tiles, Geopogo built a new feature for its latest update of the Magic Leap 2 AR glasses. They used the Tiles as an AR occlusion layer to visualise 3D AR building models in the real world. This update will enable architects, designers, and commercial developers to design, review, and showcase their building models in immersive visualisations onsite in see-through AR in the context of the real environment, rather than through traditional artistic renderings.

Compatible with a variety of renderers

You can use our Photorealistic 3D Tiles with your own renderer or other compatible renderers and visualisation libraries, like CesiumJS and because Google Maps Platform has adopted the commonly-used Open Geospatial Consortium’s 3D Tiles standard. Photorealistic 3D Tiles are now also available in Cesium ion to help developers combine their own 3D geospatial data with Photorealistic 3D Tiles to build immersive 3D geospatial apps and experiences.

2D Map Tiles and Street View Tiles

If you’re building in non-Javascript environments, you can also use our 2D Map Tiles and Street View Tiles, which are now generally available. The 2D Map Tiles provide access to roadmap, terrain, and satellite imagery that are already offered through our Maps JavaScript APIs. Street View Tiles serve the same panoramic images as their existing Street View Service API, but with additional metadata to create more customised Street View experiences.

Street View imagery highlighting Street View Tiles showing the view over the Hudson River from Brooklyn, between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridge

A comprehensive portfolio of products for building immersive experiences

With access to comprehensive Photorealistic 3D, 2D and Street View maps, and the flexibility to work with any renderer, developers can bring to life experiences that were not possible before. And with the general availability of the Aerial View API last month, Google Maps Platform now offer a comprehensive portfolio of products to build immersive experiences at scale–whether you want a quick pre-rendered video to delight your customers or you want to build a highly customised and interactive 3D visualisation to inform decision making.

Ready to get started?

Now that Photorealistic 3D Tiles, 2D Tiles and Street View Tiles are generally available, billing will reflect a tiered pricing model that’s based on a per Root Tile request for Photorealistic 3D Tiles (akin to a map ‘session’) and per Tile request for 2D Map and Street View Tiles. If you’re ready to get started, get in touch with us today.

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