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Thursday, December 13, 2012, 02:00 am PT (05:00 am ET)

New Google Maps for iOS brings vectors, transit and navigation features


Flyover features delegated to Google Earth



Another significant omission in Google Maps is support for 3D satellite images similar to Apple's Flyover. Rather than incorporating its own Google Earth data into the new Google Maps app, the company simply links to its existing Google Earth app.

Apple's Maps presents Standard street maps and Satellite image maps (or a Hybrid combination), each with a 3D perspective option (at least on newer iOS devices that can support the 3D features, such as the iPhone 4S or newer).



The new Google Maps similarly offers 3D perspective with grey building outlines just like Apple's Standard mode, but only shows satellite views in flat perspective, just like Apple's Maps do in areas where Flyover isn't available (and as Android's Maps+Navigation app does). While both apps show mountain landscapes in topographical 3D perspective, only Apple currently incorporates 3D satellite building models in major cities supporting Flyover.

To see a similar Flyover-like view of 3D buildings, you have to exit Google Maps and launch Google Earth (available as a link within the new app). However, Google Earth images are much older than Apple's Flyover, and contain many of the same imaging bugs that critics bewailed regarding Apple's Flyover at its launch.

In Google Earth, the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge appears to have a layer of pavement running underneath it (below), for example, while Apple renders the landmark correctly in iOS 6 Map's Flyover.






And the connecting Doyle Drive highway, which has been under construction for years, is still shown pre-construction, depicting closed ramps and old bridges as still in use while none of the newly completed roads and tunnels are even visible in Google Earth's version of 3D maps. Apple's Flyover maps show the same areas correctly with more up to date 3D images, more comparable to Google Map's new but flat satellite images.