Google Maps' new update brings visual improvements to help users understand location, surroundings better

With the new update, users will be able to correctly distinguish beaches and deserts from lakes, rivers, oceans and ravines.

Google is working on bringing visual enhancements to the Maps which will help users know more about the area they plan on visiting in real life or exploring via their screens.

The “visual improvements” aimed at bringing “even more detail and granularity to the map” were rolled out this week, according to a company blog published on Tuesday (18 August). Using high-definition satellite imagery, Maps has made “more comprehensive [and] vibrant map of an area at a global scale”. The firm reportedly used a “new color-mapping algorithmic technique” to enhance the imagery.

Image: Google

Users can see crosswalks, sidewalks, and pedestrian islands right from Google Maps. Image: Google

Now the areas of vegetation will be distinguishable with the green hue, the snow caps with the white colouring. People will be able to correctly distinguish beaches and deserts from lakes, rivers, oceans and ravines. This is likely to help the solo dwellers. With this update, Google Maps claims to have “one of the most comprehensive views of natural features on any major map app—with availability in all 220 countries and territories that Google Maps supports”.

Explaining how the colour mapping technology works, Google said that it used “computer vision" to identify natural features using the satellite feed. Then, matching colour shades are assigned. For example, “a densely covered forest can be classified as dark green, while an area of patchy shrubs could appear as a lighter shade of green".

Along with the natural-looking enhancements, selected cities (New York, San Francisco and London) are also getting better street specifications. From knowing how wide a road is, to determining the location of a sidewalk, Maps will make navigating the cities a cakewalk. This feature will start rolling out in the upcoming months. Moreover, Google is also planning on extending this feature to other cities and places out of the United States in the future.

Users will be able to witness the natural features by zooming out on the app.

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