Google Maps Gets Immersive View That Combines Street Maps With Satellites


Immersive View leverages Satellite data with Street view data in a real time and computer generated form

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Google is now building Maps as an augmented reality platform

At Google’s annual developer conference Google IO 2022, which was held fully in person for the first time in two years in San Francisco, the search engine giant announced a new update for its mapping service Google Maps which is called Immersive View.  Fundamentally, Google is merging Street View technology with satellites which makes it a street view in the sky allowing you to look over a location from above. This will give you more real-time context and allow you to drop to the street level to see specific spots. 

The Maps overlays with live busyness and traffic information which is kind of a take on augmented reality. This enables one to look at a park or street corner or beach that you’re looking at. The interesting bit is that the images behind “Immersive View” are all computer-generated and derived from a combination of Google Satellite captures and street view shots that have been taken manually by its cars. Google is able to fuse this data and set it in a precisely scaled world. 

“We’re able to fuse those together, so that we can actually understand, okay, these are the heights of the buildings. How do we combine that with Street View? How do we combine it with an aerial view to make something that feels much more like you were there?,”  said Liz Reid, a VP of engineering at Google. 


Immersive view combines data from satellites and street maps to give a computer generated real time view

Reid claims that this feature combines the impressive zoom that’s there on Google Earth but on a neighbourhood level. Immersive View works on most devices but the neighbourhoods are limited to San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, London and Tokyo, though more will be added. 

Google is pushing Maps to have a more 3D experience. Third-party app developers can now tap into the Live View AR feature for maps which gives super precise location tracking in the real worked and an augmented reality layer on top. Google is working with developers who enable apps that will help users park their scooters or help navigate stadiums or just play AR games in the real world. 


Google Maps now is more than a location/navigation service but an augmented reality platform. It is increasingly becoming a digital version of the real world as it harnesses the vast amounts of data it has and combines it with its powerful computing and augmented reality. 

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