Google Maps Update Brings 3D Buildings, Offline GPS Features

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Google has updated its Google Maps Android app to include 3D buildings and offline storage capabilities. These are both features that Google’s Andy Rubin showed off at a recent tech conference, if you recall.

The new 3D buildings feature allows users to tilt and rotate maps at various angles, and Google’s new use of vector graphics means that a larger area of the map can be downloaded in one fell swoop instead of tile by tile.

As a result, much more of a given area can be stored offline now too. So even if you lose your connection for a bit, you’ll still have access to a large portion of the area around you.

Google even claims that it’s been able to work offline rerouting into its GPS navigation feature set, so if you’re using the navigation portion of Google Maps and your signal drops off you’ll apparently be rerouted before you’re even reconnected. Google says “we’ll quickly get you back on track, even if you don’t have an Internet connection,” which indicates that you’ll still need a GPS connection for the feature to work.

The new Google Maps application is available in the Android Market, with the offline rerouting feature to be rolled out “gradually over the next few weeks.”

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