Google Maps is getting a new visual update this week that adds a splash of colors to more accurately depict the natural features of an area, adding more details to the land and telling users more about the geography. Google says it uses computer vision to identify natural features from our satellite imagery by looking specifically at arid, icy, forested, and mountainous areas.

Old look (left); New look (right)

The aforementioned features are subsequently assigned distinct colors to make them easily discernible. “A densely covered forest can be classified as dark green, while an area of patchy shrubs could appear as a lighter shade of green,” says Google. A mountain with snow will be easily discernible from the surrounding area, and so will be arid areas from regions with patchy or lush vegetation.

Old look (left); New look (right)

Additionally, Google Maps will soon show “detailed street information that shows the accurate shape and width of a road to scale,” in addition to the exact layout of sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian islands among other details. The updated street maps view will first be rolled out for London, New York, and San Francisco in the coming months, followed by expansion in other cities.

Source: Google Blog

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