Google has gifted more cities with the 45° imagery in Google Maps, this time updating the imagery for 56 locations: 23 cities in the United States and 33 throughout the rest of the world. Notable in this release, Google says, is that this is the first time they’ve published 45° for the Czech Republic (in which many cities are included) and Slovakia.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, you’ve likely noticed that the ruins have begun to resemble more of a droopy wasp nest than an arena that welcomes blood-drenched gladiator battles. Using the standard 90° imagery, you wouldn’t get either impression were you to have a peek at the Colosseum.
Okay, it does retain some of that wasp-nest texture, but it also resembles one of those trilobite fossils. However, now with the 45° imagery, we can efface that impression and get back to imagining that, yes, this is the Colosseum of legend.
Milwaukee was another city added in Google Maps’ update, but not without some peculiarities. I noticed that, at first glance, if we’re to assume that the image of the Milwaukee Art Museum is congruent with the rest of Google Maps, it appears to be perched on the western coast of Lake Michigan.
But… Milwaukee doesn’t have a western shore with Lake Michigan; the city is on the eastern shore of the state, which touches Lake Michigan, and where the art museum sits.
The only other explanation is that the view Google provided in their blog update actually faces south. Up to now, though, I’ve only ever seen Google Maps imagery face north in the 45° angle imagery.
What’s more is that the southern view of the Milwaukee Art Museum is only available if you follow Google’s link from the blog post. If you simply go to the museum through the usual Google Maps portal, you are met with an image that is congruent with the rest of the 45° imagery.
Even disabling the 45° view from Google’s original link and reverting back to the 90°, the coast flips and now everything is in its right place.
Try as I might, I couldn’t duplicate the point-of-view that was originally provided in Google’s link. Even by switching to the map view to satellite view and back to map, I couldn’t return to the south-facing view. Have a play at the map with the embedded portion below and see for yourself. As long as you stay in the map in the link Google provided, you can navigate all of Milwaukee from the south-facing view.
Google Map’s imagery has always favored the north-facing point-of-view, and as far as I’ve experienced, this is the first one that actually faces south. That the Google-provided image is from the opposite point-of-view, it makes me wonder if this was an accidental reveal on their part of what could potentially be a multi-view function for maps in the future.
Anybody else notice this variant in the maps anywhere else? Feel free to add your observations in the comments below.
Oh, and for those in want of knowing, below is the full list of cities to get the newest 45° update.