Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 3:30 AM[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]
Whether you’re travelling abroad or exploring your own city, the maps you carry with you should be comprehensive, accurate and easy to use. We're constantly making improvements to Google Maps to help you find and discover places that are meaningful to you no matter where you are. And today, we’re launching updated maps of Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lesotho, Macau, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore and Vatican City to do just that.
As was the case for past updates, our new maps are more detailed and precise. For example, in Ireland we now have excellent coverage of National Heritage Areas, as well as more detailed coastlines and bodies of water:
We’ve also added more accurate names and locations for major points of interest, such as airports, universities and public squares. Here you can see St. Mark’s Square in Venice, now with accurately aligned canals, 3D buildings and detailed labels of the countless number of places to be discovered.
We’ve also added better and more clearly labelled ferry routes in many places, such as the area below surrounding Naples, Italy. Traveling by ferry is one of my favorite ways to explore a city—I love looking back from the water at the cityscapes—and this improvement will help you find the ferry routes you need to do the same. You can even use Google Maps to get transit-based directions for ferries. We take into account ferry timetables to route you over water just easily as you might follow our driving directions over land.
In addition to the above changes, local roads on these maps are now more accurately distinguished from highways, and multi-lingual names are available for a larger proportion of roads in many of the updated countries. These improvements give you a better visual feel of the location, as well as make it easier to navigate the area when you're on the ground.
Of course, the world around us is always changing, so we’re making our “Report a problem” tool available in each of these countries as well. You can use it to send us a description of any corrections to be made, which we then incorporate into our maps, often within days.
Today’s improvements follow the recent expansion of our collection of Antarctic imagery, and are part of our ongoing effort to build maps that are comprehensive, accurate and easy to use. We've partnered with numerous authoritative sources to ensure that Google Maps is a living reflection of every corner of the globe. After all, a map is only as good as the data behind it. The maps that we've built will help ensure that you get correct and up-to-date information about the world around you.
Update 8:00pm: We're also making certain maps of the 11 countries listed above, plus Egypt, Poland and Ukraine, available offline in Google Maps for Android.