Jump to Content
Google Maps Platform

WebGL-powered maps features now generally available

June 9, 2022
https://storage.googleapis.com/gweb-cloudblog-publish/images/Web_gl_header.0857038917080778.max-1800x1800.png
Mira Leung

Software Engineer, Google Maps Platform

Try Google Maps Platform

Unlock access to real world data and insights with a monthly $200 Google Maps Platform credit.

GET STARTED

At last year’s Google I/O, our team announced the preview release of a set of new WebGL-powered maps features for the Maps JavaScript API. These features give you unprecedented control of the vector basemap, as part of the customization and styling options available with Cloud-based maps styling. Check out our demo to explore these features more. They include:

  • Tilt and Rotation, which lets you and your users move the map in three dimensions

  • Move Camera, which gives you the ability to control the perspective of the viewpoint, as well as create smooth camera animations

  • WebGL Overlay View, which exposes direct hooks into the lifecycle of the WebGL rendering context of the map, so you can render 2D and 3D objects directly on the map with depth and occlusion
https://storage.googleapis.com/gweb-cloudblog-publish/original_images/Integrated_camera_controls_3.gif

WebGL-powered maps features are made possible thanks to the native WebGL APIs that are supported in all modern browsers, giving access to the rendering power of the device GPU. This means you can create performant, beautiful maps experiences never before possible with Maps Javascript API.


Thank you to all the developers who tried WebGL-powered maps features during the preview phase. Your feedback, bug reports, and testing were a big part of the journey from preview to   the GA release of these features today.


What’s New

To make WebGL Overlay View GA-ready, we’ve made some API evolutions, and additional improvements to the internal renderer, including upgrading the vector map to use a WebGL 2.0 rendering context, offering extra extensions as part of the core library, faster real-time rendering, new graphics features, and reduced video memory consumption. 


Use Cases

Since we launched these features in preview last year, we’ve been excited to see what you’ve created. 


From using deck.gl and WebGL Overlay View to create 2D and 3D visualizations of large geospatial datasets:

https://storage.googleapis.com/gweb-cloudblog-publish/original_images/Large_geospacial_datasets_4.gif

To creating enterprise-grade data mapping software tools like CARTO Builder that makes it easy to integrate large geospatial datasets pulled from BigQuery:

https://storage.googleapis.com/gweb-cloudblog-publish/original_images/CARTO_builder_3.gif

To featuring how digital twins can be used to perform digital analyses and scenarios before being put to the test in the real world:

https://storage.googleapis.com/gweb-cloudblog-publish/original_images/Ubilabs_demo.gif

This is just a small subset of the powerful use cases that WebGL-powered map features unlock. To see these demos and more, visit our demo gallery.  


Get Started

For a detailed list of changes in the GA release, and to learn more about WebGL-powered maps features and how to use it with open-source libraries like deck.gl and threejs.org, check out the documentation and our WebGL codelab.


Happy 3D mapping!


For more information on Google Maps Platform, visit our website.
Posted in