back to article Google adds 25 million grey building 'footprints' to Maps

Google has added 25 million building footprints to its Maps product, giving extra detail to maps of key American cities. Maps that once just showed a road now show the outlines of individual buildings next to that road. And not just big buildings - all the buildings, down to standard residential properties, along with height …

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Anonymous Coward

Interior plans on Android...

And on Android, some buildings have interior plan data, e.g. on an Android's built-in Maps app, go to

38.066155,-97.920842

and zoom in.

But only on Android's maps, not on the browser version.

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Facepalm

It has to be said...

Presumably this would have automatically been rolled out to iOS, whereas instead their users get to marvel at wibbly wobbly bridges showing routes which were removed in 1957:

http://theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com/post/33227347622/the-lions-gate-bridge-in-vancouver-looks-a-bit

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Re: It has to be said...

I doubt Google would have rolled this out to iOS, it looks like something that would be added to their vector maps but not the static tiles version that iOS was stuck with. It's probably worth mentioning that Apple's new maps also have building and house outlines for many cities and can also display them in 3D (using a simplified version of the 3D flyover data).

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Re: It has to be said...

Doubt it. The the map app on iOS was Apple built and lacked a lot of features I frequently use on Android. Now whether that's because Google didn't make those features accessible through the API or that Apple just couldn't be bothered to update it, I don't know.

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Anonymous Coward

Was using Maps on Android

this Wednesday, and I was getting these in South Wales, UK Cardiff to be specific - looked a bit 3D too, and was a residential area.

Anywhere else?

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Re: Was using Maps on Android

it's been on Cardiff since version 5 of android maps.

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Anonymous Coward

Hey...

I can see my house from here...

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Anonymous Coward

Say what you like

About privacy, but Google don't half have some clever people working for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Say what you like

How innovative of them, to take drawings from other people and load them into a big database.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Say what you like

> How innovative of them, to take drawings from other people and load them into a big database.

Something which, of course, you do every day before breakfast. Where can I see your maps, please?

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Anonymous Coward

IOS 6

That's where.

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Re: IOS 6

Good joke. Very funny.

"Feeding aerial photos into an algorithm, its engineers used computer vision techniques to render shapes of the building, adding a wealth of information to its maps."

If this is an algorithm they designed, then of course it's bloody innovative. If not, then it's either a novel application or the first large scale application. Either way, Google has the best maps app out there are continuing to improve it. I don't particularly dislike Apple, but no one (other than a raving fanboy) could argue that their map app isn't the worst. It's not even as good as Bing Maps. Yes, I said bloody Bing!

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Facepalm

Re: Say what you like

"Something which, of course, you do every day before breakfast"

I've done it, also did 1080p HD web based video long before youtube even considered it. The problem is there's no point trying to compete because even if you have a better product 99.99% of people will stick with what they know.

Also OpenStreetMap does much more complicated stuff than just taking a user generated outline and has been doing for years, which is why they have completely independent mapping data for a large chunk of the planet.

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Meh

Technical Doublespeak

Feeding aerial photos into an algorithm, its engineers used computer vision techniques to render shapes of the building.

So they wrote a batch edge-detect Script-Fu in GIMP? Or did they do it the hard way?

Either way, not really that much of a technological breakthrough...

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Re: Technical Doublespeak

Except they also calculated the height of the buildings as well....

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Re: Technical Doublespeak

The detail is amazing. I can see you waving your willy from here.

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Re: Technical Doublespeak

> Feeding aerial photos into an algorithm, its engineers used computer vision techniques to render shapes of the building.

> not really that much of a technological breakthrough...

Of course the way they said it, it sure sounds like one :)

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Pint

Had this in Brum for about 3 years.....

Congrats on catching up, yanks ;)

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FAIL

Wrong picture captions

The picture captions are incorrect. The top picture shows before (left side) and after (right side).

The bottom picture is an example of a newly-populated area.

The pictures are not top picture before, bottom picture after, as they are currently labeled on the Reg.

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Google announced a few months back that all the user contributed 3D models for Google Earth in major metropolitan would effectively be nuked and replaced with models built and textured using Aerial Photography.

It pissed of a fair amount of users who had built the models in Sketchup, especially those that made a money making business from it.

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Useful information for terrorists and presumably others

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...and those working in counter-terrorism.

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Havn't you heard terroists use X.25 still. But this does offer the ability to grasp were you are with reference points a little bit easier on the common map without having to toggle between sat view and normal. All just to guage were you are as streets tend to have there names at the end and then, can be a case of find the street sign. So this does have those non terroists uses.

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Isn't the whole "OMG!!!The Terr'rists!!!!!" thing getting a bit old by now?

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Anonymous Coward

Tell it the politicians.

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Childcatcher

Maybe, it was last decades slogan, with the 90's being think of the children. Any suggestions, think of the TAX dogers perhaps for this decade? Besides at least every new technology isn't lambasted with "So how does this improve the enviroment?" arguments, yet. Still if we plan it out now by the time we all retire we can hopefully get the meme around to "think of the old people", probably a better pension policey in todays world.

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Anonymous Coward

Back in 2003...

... I used to work at a company that had outlines and heights available for the maps programme they sold. It was fun playing with the X version of the app, which wasn't available outside of the company. Then they focused on mobile and the feature went away. And now google reintroduces it. Oh well.

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Re: Back in 2003...

"Back in 2003 I used to work at a company that had outlines and heights available for the maps programme they sold. [...] And now google reintroduces it. Oh well."

If they have patents on it, or parts of it, then your "Oh well" could end up needing to be changed to "The luckiest move of their lives was getting those patents and then, effectively although by accident, hiding the product, so that Google didn't know the prior product even existed, and so did not research the relevant patents, and therefore could not engineer around those patents; and then when the patent-holders went to see a lawyer, a jury would not let Google worm its way out of having to pay $125 million for infringing those patents. And they lived pleasurably and opulently ever after. Nice!"

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Meh

Re: Back in 2003...

> If they have patents

Patents on putting "outlines and heights" on a map? Apple-level inventiveness, fer sure.

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Re: Back in 2003...

Nothing difficult about putting numbers on the map.

But how did they work out the numbers....? That's the interesting bit, and what a load of commentards here appear to have skimmed over.

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Anonymous Coward

Working out the numbers

IIRC they got the outlines and the height numbers too from the local land registry, back then. Now, maybe google will be using their laser scanners with fancy inference algorithms, that's come a ways.

The main reasons to drop the feature were local storage (a 512MB mmc or sd was considered BIG back then) and a desire to cram as much routes and maps in the available space as possible, though probably also then-contemporary smartphone processing power. Now, of course, google's assumptions will be a tad different.

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Coat

"Computer Vision Techniques"

That would be "Image Analysis" then.

Sheesh.

Digital impact signal anaylsis input instrument. Keyboard.

Regulated photon emission output device. Monitor.

Mine's the one with the unnecessary jargon-speak in the convenient manual access storage/retrieval area.

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Anonymous Coward

I discovered today that they also map the inside of Europcar vans!

https://www.google.co.uk/maps?ll=51.514154,-0.139223&spn=0.001587,0.004128&cbp=12,52.44,,0,15.21&t=m&layer=c&cbll=51.514278,-0.139322&panoid=VhLc92jk5sAwoqVxxdAj8Q&z=19

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Re: I discovered today that they also map the inside of Europcar vans!

Now that's impressive.

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Alien

So disappointed...

...I misread it as "Google adds 25 million grey building 'footprints' to Mars."

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Pint

How can I contribute fake data for my house?

I'd like to overlay a false huge mansion over my more modest digs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How can I contribute fake data for my house?

> I'd like to overlay a false huge mansion over my more modest digs.

I'd like to do the opposite and claim council tax back.

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Anonymous Coward

omg building footprints

how will this help me (Stroke my dick)

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Anonymous Coward

LIDAR or Stereoscopy?

Which technique or combination of techniques are used for this? My guess is on LIDAR but could anyone please confirm?

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Apple Maps

I used my iPad to navigate across Yorkshire last weekend and it performed admirably. Just saying. Manchester was pretty good with the buildings, etc.

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