Explore maps in 3D
Until now, Google Maps has always downloaded the map as a set of small, square images that we stitch together to form the map you see. (You’ve probably seen those gray squares getting filled in, block-by-block, as the images load over the network.) Starting today, we’ll use vector graphics to dynamically draw the map on your device as you use it, allowing you to interact with it in new ways:
• Tilting: Drag down with two fingers to tilt the map. Tilt while zoomed in on one of the100+ cities around the world with 3D buildings to see a skyline spring to life.
• Rotating: Twist with two fingers to rotate the map. After tilting to see 3D buildings, rotate around them to gain a new perspective from any direction.
• Smooth zooming: Slide two fingers together or apart, and see the map and labels continuously scale to any zoom level, stopping when your fingers stop.
• Compass mode: Center the map on your location, and then tap the compass button in the top right corner. The map will flip into 3D mode and start rotating to match your perspective, while still keeping all the labels upright and readable.
I found 3D buildings especially useful on a recent trip to New York. From my hotel to the Google office in Chelsea and bars on the Lower East Side, this richer representation of the real world made the map much more helpful. And whenever I walked out of a building or subway station, I used compass mode to get myself quickly oriented and on my way. Check out the video below to see tilt, rotation, zoom and compass mode in action