Google Maps and the Technology Behind the Popular Navigation App

With more than 1 billion monthly users and has mapped 220 countries and territories.

Did you know that the world’s most popular navigation app is Google Maps? In fact, we kind of wonder how we navigated the world before it. Today, Google Maps has more than 1 billion monthly users and has mapped 220 countries and territories.

Even better, their maps are updated every second of every day with real-time information. How does it work?

Google Maps relies on a basic, geological map developed by their Base Map Partner Program that collects information to create a comprehensive map. This base map, however, was incomplete.

So in the early 2000s, Google took to the streets to collect the data it needed to produce a complete map. Cars, boats, snowmobiles, and other vehicles equipped with cameras traced every possible route they could find.

Advertisement

Google also relied on the public to fill in any gaps by crowd-sourcing further data and images making it possible to see road signs, house numbers, and other details that satellites couldn’t capture. Today, Google even uses machine learning and other automation solutions for its processes making them more thorough and trustworthy. 

What does machine learning add to Google Maps? How has automation changed the app? What does the future hold for the app? We explore all these questions and more in this video.

Follow Us on

Stay on top of the latest engineering news

Just enter your email and we’ll take care of the rest:

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.