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This article is about the mapping service. For the mobile application, see Google Maps (mobile application).
|Key people||Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen
(Inventor & Co-Founder)
Lars Rasmussen (Co-Founder)
|Registration||Optional, included with a Google Account|
|Launched||February 8, 2005|
Google Maps' satellite view is a "top-down" view; most of the high-resolution imagery of cities is aerial photography taken from aircraft flying at 800 to 1,500 feet (240 to 460 m), while most other imagery is from satellites. Much of the available satellite imagery is no more than three years old and is updated on a regular basis. Google Maps uses a close variant of the Mercator projection, and therefore cannot accurately show areas around the poles.
The current redesigned version of the desktop application was made available in 2013, alongside the "classic" (pre-2013) version. Google Maps for mobile was released in September 2008 and features GPS turn-by-turn navigation. In August 2013, it was determined to be the world's most popular app for smartphones, with over 54% of global smartphone owners using it at least once.
In 2012, Google reported of having over 7,100 employees and contractors directly working in mapping.
- Most countries of mainland Eurasia and Africa are covered contiguously, including Nepal, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Canary Islands, Cyprus, Malta, Sri Lanka, most of Indonesia and Timor-Leste. China mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, Jordan, Lebanon and North Korea have directions available without connection to other states. Only public transit directions are provided for South Korea.
- All countries of mainland North and Central America are covered contiguously.
- All countries of mainland South America are covered. All countries including Trinidad and Tobago* (*although considered to be part of North America) are treated contiguously.
- All inhabited countries and territories in the Caribbean are covered, though in general there are no connections between islands.
- Additionally, American Samoa, Australia, the Azores, Cape Verde, The Comoros, The Cook Islands, the Faroe Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Iceland, Japan, Madagascar, the Maldives, Mauritius, Mayotte, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, the Philippines, Réunion, São Tomé and Príncipe, the Seychelles, Samoa, Taiwan, Tonga, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna are covered as stand-alone regions, as are Nuuk in Greenland, Sabah in Malaysia, parts of Papua New Guinea, parts of Solomon Islands and Socotra in Yemen.
In October 2011, Google announced MapsGL, a WebGL version of Maps with better renderings and smoother transitions.
The version of Google Street View for classic Google Maps requires Adobe Flash.
Using the core engine and the map/satellite images hosted by Google, such tools can introduce custom location icons, location coordinates and metadata, and even custom map image sources into the Google Maps interface. The script-insertion tool Greasemonkey provides a large number of client-side scripts to customize Google Maps data.
Combinations with photo sharing websites, such as Flickr, are used to create "memory maps".[clarification needed What are memory maps?] Using copies of the Keyhole satellite photos, users have taken advantage of image annotation features to provide personal histories and information regarding particular points of the area.