Google unveiled its “next dimension” of mapping technology today by announcing that full 3-D imagery will soon be making its way to iOS devices. In the event, according to Engadget’s live blog, the company demoed the feature on an iPad.
Using planes flying over cities, Google has automatically extracted the information to build the 3-D maps. The planes fly in tightly controlled patterns so that a complete picture of the environment can be taken. The company then uses a new process to extract depth from the imagery.
During the conference, Google showed off detailed, 3-D imagery of San Francisco and some of the major landmarks in the city using Google Earth running on an iPad.
Here’s a quick video showing off some of the 3-D imagery.
The 3-D mode, according to Google, will be coming to iOS (and Android) devices “in the coming weeks.” The company also announced an offline-mapping mode for Android devices, but offered no definitive timetable when (or if) the capability would ever come to iOS.
Google’s event comes on the heels of rumored big changes with the Maps app in iOS 6. Apple, next week during WWDC, is expected to announce a 3-D mode in the app using its own technology.