Adding to its revolutionary navigation service, Google is planning to release a new version of the Google Maps program, offering users a 3D aerial-mapping technology that provides details capable of showing objects just four inches wide. But as U.S. technology companies race to produce aerial maps with greater detail and visibility, critics are posing privacy concerns and warning that America is quickly becoming a surveillance society.
During an event last Wednesday, the search-engine giant unveiled “the next dimension of Google Maps,” demonstrating its new 3D mapping technology, called MapsGL, and showing the audience how to use the maps program offline. Further, Luc Vincent, Google’s Engineering Director of “Street View,” featured a new backpack mapping device that allows Google to map new areas that bikes, cars, and other vehicles cannot reach. In describing the nature of the event, PC Magazine explained how Google’s navigation service is evolving:
At the event, Peter Birch, project manager of Google Earth, went through the evolution of dimension on Google Maps, from flattened to photorealistic. While Google Maps images had been cobbled together from multiple sources, MapsGL is powered by automated technology to extract 3D from aerial images that Google obtained from a fleet of planes it contracts with that fly exclusively for Google. This, combined with the release of MapsGL for Android and iOS in the next few weeks and the already over one billion users of Google Maps, considerably raises the bar for any maps announcement that might be forthcoming…
In the coming weeks, Google will release its latest technology on a few big cities it modeled using Google Earth, a virtual globe and geographical information program that maps the Earth with satellite imagery and aerial photography. By the end of the year, the company boasts that 300 million people in towns and cities across the country will be covered by the new technology.
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