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Google has upped the ante with 3D, offline Maps as Apple finds its own way in the world.
Google unveiled its new 3D and offline mapping tools in San Francisco yesterday, which the Internet giant hopes will be the secret weapon against rival Apple, as iOS dumps it for an in-house mapping system.

Google Maps has developed new “automated technology to extract 3D from aerial images” giving users a  ‘Tour Guide’ of cities and other places from the sky, said Google Earth’s Peter Birch.

How?

The mapping gurus have chartered a “a fleet of planes with contractors that fly exclusively for Google.”

And the new 3D Maps were demoed (on an iPad, no less) and could be integrated into Google Earth, 9to5 Google are tipping.

The high tech new system will be unveiled for both Android and Apple iOS.

However, when asked whether the iOS app would be as good as Android, Google’ said Google Maps’ Vice President Brian McClendon, replied:

“That’s probably a larger can of worms we won’t get into here.”

And McClendon also avoided other questions posed by journalists in relation to Apple fledgling Maps service and its ditching of the contract it has held with Google since 2007.

However, it has high hopes for the new tools, saying: “We expect by the end of the year, that we’ll have communities of 300 million people mapped in this new 3D space.”

And for those wondering about privacy issues, Google planes (security issues) are “no different than we’ve had with aerial shots for years.”

But offline Google Maps for Android was also unveiled, which will hit ‘Droids “soon”.

Offline Maps will work even in an underground train, with no network coverage at home or abroad, company execs confirmed.

And Google is also “working very hard” to bring Maps offline to iOS – “it’s just a question of when that’ll happen,” said McClendon.

This marks Google’s pre-emptive efforts to keep millions of Apple iOS eyeballs with Google apps, rather than opting for iOS Maps.

Cupertino are said to reveal its new 3D mapping system at Worldwide Developers Conference kicking off June 11 .

But can Apple find its own was in mapping world, without Google?

 

Cupertino’s in-house engineers are referring to the new application as simply Maps and is tipped to be faster and cleaner than Google’s service and will provide “photo-realistic” 3D mapping.

Apple’s recent acquitions include Placebase, C3 Technologies, and Poly9, and give it the intelligence to create Maps and a Google Earth style system.

We’ll see more next week.

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