According to VP McClendon, the company has long "obsessed" over building new maps for its users that are totally comprehensive, more accurate and easier to navigate. He added that "Over the last few years we've been building a comprehensive base map of the entire globe-based on public and commercial data, imagery from every level (satellite, aerial and street level) and the collective knowledge of our millions of users."
Now McClendon says Google will be taking another big step forward with the introduction of its Street View Trekker feature that will now document in detail the many wilderness areas of the globe that were previously only accessible on foot, one slow step at a time. The Trekker feature will photo-document even the most remote hills and valleys so that everyone can now explore the wilderness conveniently online. McClendon adds that Google is also obsessively preoccupied with the accuracy of its maps, and by cross-checking the user data and feedback it is able to make thousands of edits a day through its Report a Problem tool and via Map Maker, which was launched back in 2008. Now Google has announced the expansion of the Map Maker feature to include maps of South Africa and Egypt, and 10 more countries will be added within weeks to include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.
In his post, McClendon added that the final element of the perfect map is it's level of usability and that Google has drawn on thousands of different data sources feeding into its maps in order to deliver a fully functional and interactive experience covering everything from driving directions to indoor maps to restaurant reviews on just about every type of device available today. In response to numerous user requests asking for the ability to use Google Maps offline on mobile phones, the technology giant will begin offering offline Google Maps for Android devices this summer. The initial rollout will allow users to take maps offline from more than 100 countries, and will permit offline map use even in those areas without an Internet connection available.
McClendon's post suggests that Google's ability to model the Earth in 3D will be the biggest step in improving the overall comprehensiveness, accuracy and usability of its maps. Thanks to new image rendering techniques Google can now create ultra-realistic 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, all from the perspective of aerial imagery. The VP said Google hopes to have functional 3D image coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people by the end of this year. In conclusion, he states that "While we may never create the perfect map, we're going to get much, much closer than we are today."