Android Maps app: 3D, Compass Orientation, Offline Storage

Android is elevating its Maps app after announcing the new Nexus S with Gingerbread. The new maps app would be capable of 3D vector-based buildings,  Maps offline caching, and compass based Orientation.

Update: application is now available in Android Market.

The new app has a dynamic map rendering engine which draws maps as you use them, and offers smoother transitions when zooming in and out of different levels. The dynamic rendering download the info once as vectors, and then can be used to display 3d building and zoomed views without actually downloading additional data from network.  will also make it possible to start to show 3D buildings as you zoom into the street-level view. The touch screen will allow you to tilt and rotate the map and buildings.

The result is that the new maps load 100 times faster as instead of downloading the entire map image for each level, the app downloads meta data which describes the entire map at all different levels and then renders the appropriate sector on the fly. Because we now have lesser images to download, it can be cached into phone’s SD card for Offline Google Maps. This will start to give Google Maps offline capabilities on mobile phones. This is amazing!

The compass will be used to orient the maps in the direction of the person holding the phone. This is great when you are not using directions but cruising around with just maps.

Maps on Android was already the Best GPS app in the world, now it has raised the bar.

Watch it in action:

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