Google Maps 5 Offers 3D Maps and Offline Mode

It's been five years since Google launched Google Maps for mobile and my, how it's changed. The company recently demoed Google Maps 5 for Android on a Honeycomb tablet and we were promised it would be rolling out to current Android users very soon.

On Thursday, Google gave Android users an early Christmas present and released Google Maps 5 for Android. The vector-based mapping application allows for a kind of interaction we've never seen before. Tilt the map (drag down with two fingers) and buildings sprout up from all those grey squares that Maps uses to signify buildings. Google has added support for 3D buildings in more than 100 cities around the world.

Though being able to navigate through more than just flat, grey and green tiles is incredible, it's not the best feature available in Google Maps 5. Google is also adding an offline mode that will see the application cache large areas of places you frequent most often on your phone. This means when you're stumbling home from the office holiday party on foot because someone took your keys away, you can pull up the map of your neighborhood and find your way home. This matches up quite nicely with Offline Rerouting, a feature being rolled out to Google Maps Navigation users over the next few weeks. Offline Rerouting lets you use turn-by-turn navigation even if your internet connection drops mid-way through the route.

"You'll still need a connection to start a route," writes Google's Michael Siliski. "But if you miss a turn along the way, we’ll quickly get you back on track, even if you don’t have an Internet connection."

Check out a video demo of Google Maps 5 below.

Jane McEntegart works in marketing communications at Intel and was previously Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America. Before that, she worked for more than seven years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor and writing about everything from smartphones to tablets and games consoles.

  • keczapifrytki
    Where did they find a Galaxy S phone with a working GPS?
  • andrewbt
    I have a Galaxy S,and the onboard GPS works great no problems
  • werxen
    Yeah.... sure you do.

    Just like every iPhone 4 user has no antenna problems
    Just like every Fermi owner has no heating problems
    Just like person who bought an x3 can unlock it no problem

    The internet... full of honesty.
  • jerreece
    werxenYeah.... sure you do.Just like every iPhone 4 user has no antenna problemsJust like every Fermi owner has no heating problemsJust like person who bought an x3 can unlock it no problemThe internet... full of honesty.
    Once you accept that the Fermi cards run hot, it's not longer a "problem". Especially when you consider the heat does not actually cause performance issues.
  • Randomacts
    Fabulos surpise

    We got spam of all sizes shapes and forums!!!.....


    this looks like it could be useful
  • alhanelem
    this article has a BUTT-LOAD of spammers...
  • Randomacts
    alhanelemwow...this article has a BUTT-LOAD of spammers...

  • milktea
    The Galaxy S phone's GPS works when you disable WiFi. The GPS only seems to lock when you have an active 3G connection. Other than this trick, there isn't any other problems. :P
  • techcurious
    Sadly, I am using an HTC HD2 with Windows 6.5 .. any idea when these new features of google maps will make it to the windows platform, if ever? :(
  • "Once you accept that the Fermi cards run hot, it's not longer a problem"

    Silicon devices anneal with heat which causes loss of functionality. I had an hp laptop that suffered this way all dur to a poor design - intermittent wifi then no wifi then no boot! Heat can also damage bond wires and reduce the overall reliability of the chips in many ways.

    SMC - Spacecraft equipment design engineer