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Google I/O Preview: Introducing new 3D imagery, map customisation, and routing products

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Over more than 15 years Google Maps Platform has evolved from 2D maps, high-resolution satellite imagery, and first-person street views. Now their introducing immersive experiences that use the latest advances in AI and computer vision to fuse it all together. As the Google Maps Platform continued to improve their underlying geospatial technology, people have come to expect increasingly visual and contextual digital experiences that replicate their real-world experiences. Today at Google I/O their sharing new products and capabilities–across 3D imagery, map customisation, and routing – that empower developers to build these experiences for their users.

Build immersive experiences with Aerial View API and Photorealistic 3D Tiles

Two new products they’re launching give you access to the same 3D map source used by Google Earth, so you can go beyond traditional maps and deliver immersive experiences to your users.

Aerial View API is now available in Preview

With a simple API call, Aerial View gives you programmatic access to cinematic videos from a place, landmark, or point of interest. Aerial View is an easy and quick way for you to help end users gain familiarity with an area (like bodies of water, schools, major roadways, and more) by viewing it from an aerial perspective. Behind the scenes, Google handles video renderings, hosting, and serving via YouTube infrastructure. You can now request high-resolution aerial videos for postal addresses in the US (with more regions coming soon).

Photorealistic 3D Tiles are now available in Experimental

Photorealistic 3D Tiles, a new geo data product available through Map Tiles API, helps you create highly customised 3D visualisation experiences that model the real world, directly in your app. Using our hi-res 3D imagery, you can help your users evaluate and navigate real world locations and solve spatial problems virtually. By communicating geographic information in a more intuitive way, you can differentiate your brand, delight users with 3D imagery, and even help them evaluate a place remotely to make decisions.

Aerial View and Photorealistic 3D Tiles both help you build immersive experiences. But based on your use case, you can quickly decide which is best for your project. Aerial View works best when you want an out-of-the-box API to quickly show videos of specific places with 3D aerial imagery. When you want to develop a highly customised and interactive 3D visualisation of larger geographic areas (like a city block, neighbourhood, city, or state) from any angle (like pedestrian-level, views from any height, and top-down), Photorealistic 3D Tiles are the better fit.

Build more customised maps and routes

To help you deeply customise your geospatial applications and make them more contextual, we’re launching several new advanced map and route customisation capabilities, along with reusable web components to build custom maps faster.

New data-driven styling capabilities let you customise maps with your data

The Preview release of data-driven styling for datasets on the Maps JavaScript API enables you to visualise and style your geospatial data as points, lines, and polygons on a map. And the new Maps Datasets API enables you to import, store, and manage your geospatial data server-side in the Google Cloud console.

Trees in Seattle, styled as points on a map, give people a better idea of the concentration of greenery they will encounter at these real-world locations.

In addition, data-driven styling for boundaries is now generally available for the Maps JavaScript API. Data-driven styling enables you to easily display Google’s polygons for administrative boundaries. It also enables you to enhance your own tabular business data with Google’s administrative boundaries to style polygons or create rich, customised choropleth maps.

Create customised user experiences with advanced markers (now generally available).

With advanced markers for the Maps JavaScript API, you can create highly customised and more performant markers. You can even showcase your brand within the marker and save development time.

Elton John’s L.A. map experience uses advanced markers to incorporate iconography associated with his favorite places, giving fans a visual cue of what they’ll experience at the real-world location.

Provide more contextual, flexible routes with Routes API (now generally available)

Routes API offers new advanced features so you can provide more informative, flexible routes and improved ETA accuracy. New features include 2-wheel routes for motorised vehicles, tolls data, real-time traffic information along each segment of a route, eco-friendly routing (in Preview) and more. It builds on the foundational features of the Directions and Distance Matrix APIs like comprehensive, up-to-date directions with real-time traffic, and calculating distances and ETAs for matrices of origin and destination combinations. Read the announcement blog to learn more.

Web Components are now available in Preview

Developers can access reusable Web Components that help them build better maps faster and with ease. Built using popular W3C standards, developers can access map and advanced marker web components that emulate existing maps functionality found in the Maps Javascript API. In addition, we are releasing an open source Extended Component Library of more extensive Web Components now available on GitHub and npm.

To learn more about these new products and features, check out our Google I/O technical sessions on immersive experiences and advanced map customisation, or get in touch with the team at 28East today.

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