The building footprints include height details and have been created by computer algorithms from the vast aerial imagery Google stores with Maps.
“This process enables us to provide more building footprints and a more comprehensive and detailed map than ever,” Google Engineering Manager Bobby Parikh said in a blog post.
Most of the new buildings’ footprints are in US metropolitan areas, including Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and the San Francisco Bay Area. When you visit the areas in Google Maps in Map view, you can now see shaded representations of the buildings in the otherwise brown spaces between roads.
“As we go about our daily travels, we often rely on buildings to orient ourselves, locate landmarks and navigate from place to place,” Parikh says.
But even with the building footprints in Map view, it’s probably still easier to switch to Satellite view with labels if local landmarks help you navigate around, and you can get this imagery all over the world too.
As with other mapping systems, such as Apple Maps, there will be the occasional glitch in the data accuracy, so Google enabled its Map Maker tool for users to correct the data and add local listings for businesses.