Expanded coverage of building footprints in Google Maps

Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 3:48 PM


As we go about our daily travels, we often rely on buildings to orient ourselves, locate landmarks and navigate from place to place. So today, we’re expanding the coverage of building footprints that are already available in Google Maps.

Now, you can see 25 million new building footprints that have been added to Google Maps on desktop and mobile across major metropolitan regions in the United States, including Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and the San Francisco Bay Area. This expansion is part of our ongoing effort to provide you with maps that are as comprehensive as possible.


Before (left) and after (right) screenshots of the map in Houston, Texas, now with building footprints


A neighborhood complete with building footprints in San Diego, California

These building footprints, complete with height detail, are algorithmically created by taking aerial imagery and using computer vision techniques to render the building shapes. This process enables us to provide more building footprints and a more comprehensive and detailed map than ever before.

For areas that you’re familiar with, you can also help ensure that the building footprints are accurate and up-to-date by using our community mapping tool, Google Map Maker. In addition to improving the shapes, you can also assign your favorite local business to an existing building or draw the building footprint for that business using Map Maker.

For example, I enjoy exploring and updating the map around Detroit, Michigan, where I lived for many years. Now, whenever I go back for a virtual visit, I won’t have to imagine where all the buildings were in my old neighborhood since their footprints have been added for the world to see on Google Maps!