in the Public Realm

Google Maps and Google Earth are building a digital mirror of the physical world that is open, dynamic, easy to search and designed for sharing - on a computer, with a mobile device or even in the car. Since launching in 2005, Google Maps and Google Earth have introduced several innovations that have transformed the world of digital mapping. Maps which users can pan and drag make exploring detail seamless and faster. Road and landmark data for 187 countries is maintained by thousands of citizen cartographers through Map Maker, and driving, transit, biking, and walking directions get you where you're going. Business listings for tens of millions of restaurants, stores, and beyond are as easy to find as an address.

Satellite imagery is available for everywhere on the planet, taking up petabytes of storage space on huge servers but available in your hands in just a few seconds. For a closer look, Street View takes you to ground-level images from 27 countries (plus Antarctica) just about as quickly as you can type.

The engineers at Google are continually pushing the envelope, with recent innovations such as the Art Project, which brings Street View inside museums, and Route Around Traffic, which, on Android phones, navigates drivers around jams on expressways or surface streets.

©2011 Google, Sanborn, DigitalGlobe