Google Maps 5.0 brings 3D mapping to Android

17 Dec 2010

The newest version of Google Maps for Android is now available, bringing 3D building support, dynamic map drawing and access to maps offline.

Google Maps 5.0 uses vector graphics as opposed to flat 2D maps to load up map data. As a result, it supports the ability to explore maps in 3D for more than 100 cities, including Dublin.

Users can tilt the view to look around the map and, as vector files are smaller than standard graphic files, zooming is much smoother.

The compass has been updated to allow for this, letting users keep their bearings as they search.

The app will now be able to automatically cache data that the user visits most often and download map locations overnight when the user is connected with Wi-Fi.

There is also support for offline rerouting when using Google Maps Navigation, which can change your direction if you miss a turn while navigating while offline.

Users still need a connection to start the route, however. This feature will be rolled out gradually.

Google estimates that viewing maps will now use almost 70pc less mobile network data than before, reducing charges.

Google Maps 5.0 must be downloaded manually from the Android Market for users to avail of the service.

There are some limitations for the upgrade, however. Android 1.6 users can get it, but 3D and its offline features require Android 2.0 and up for use. Rotating the maps requires Android 2.2 and up.