Google gave a glimpse of what lies in store for its mapping technology last week.
As anyone who uses its Maps and Earth services knows, the photographic images used for birds-eye and street level views are somewhat limited.
The problem is that photographs taken by a satellite can only show so much, while Street View is constrained by where Google’s fleet of vehicles (which include pedal trikes and snowmobiles) can travel.
Both issues should be resolved shortly though, thanks to new techniques Google has been using to take photographs that are much more detailed and show less accessible places.
The latter problem has been cracked by Google’s Street View Trekker technology, which essentially consists of a 360° camera strapped to a person’s back.
This obviously allows street-level photos to be taken in places that no vehicle could hope to travel through, whether it’s inside the White House or in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.
Google has also been using low-flying aircraft to take detailed photographs of metropolitan areas around the world.
Unlike the ‘birds-eye’ view of satellite images, these photographs are taken at 45° and can be combined to create extremely realistic 3D views of places.
Some 45° imagery is already available in Google Maps, but Google will soon use it to enhance the 3D views that have long been available in Google Earth.
This will make it possible to ‘fly’ through cities as if in a helicopter, as Google’s video shows: