Google is way ahead of the competition when it comes to the detail and complexity of its maps, writes Justin O'Beirne, and its thanks to a relentless program of turning satellite and street view imagery into accurate 3D models of buildings. It knows where your rooftop AC units are, and it's showing them to the world. And it's now calculating the most interesting groups of buildings and depicting them as algorithmically-generated "areas of interest."
And as we saw in "A Year of Google & Apple Maps", Google has been using computer vision and machine learning to extract business names and locations from its Street View imagery. In other words, Google's buildings are byproducts of its Satellite/Aerial imagery. And some of Google's places are byproducts of its Street View imagery……so this makes AOIs a byproduct of byproducts. This is bonkers, isn't it?
Google is creating data out of data.
It appears the competition (Apple, Microsoft) are so far behind they don't even have the data they need to create the data that Google has.