Rumor has it, Apple is planning on ditching Google as their map provider, and implementing their own mapping engine that includes 3D depictions of the terrain. Being that next week Apple is likely to drop the iOS 6 bomb, Google is trying to get out in front of this by stealing some thunder.
Brian McClendon, VP of Engineering of Google Maps:
[quote]An important next step in improving all of these areas—comprehensiveness, accuracy, and usability of our maps—is the ability to model the world in 3D. Since 2006, we’ve had textured 3D buildings in Google Earth, and today we are excited to announce that we will begin adding 3D models to entire metropolitan areas to Google Earth on mobile devices. This is possible thanks to a combination of our new imagery rendering techniques and computer vision that let us automatically create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery. By the end of the year we aim to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.[/quote]
Well, we’ll see how this goes, and we’ll see if Apple’s supposed Google Maps replacement is awesome or boring. Let’s just remember that Google has a bad habit of promising things in six months.