Google Maps Just Got a Lot More Colorful

Google Maps just rolled out some improvements, bringing more color and visual features to the mapping experience.

Maps currently has HD satellite imagery over 98 percent of Earth. Now, with a new color-mapping algorithmic technique, Google can create a more colorful and vibrant map on a global scale.

When you explore a specific location, you'll be able to see more of its natural features—like green vegetation, tan beaches and deserts, and blue bodies of water. If you want to check on the snow or ice conditions on a mountaintop, you can now see that from Maps. The borders to national parks and other parks are also more clearly displayed.

"How exactly does this color-mapping technique work? First, we use computer vision to identify natural features from our satellite imagery, looking specifically at arid, icy, forested, and mountainous regions," a Google blog post reads. "We then analyze these features and assign them a range of colors on the HSV color model. For example, a densely covered forest can be classified as dark green, while an area of patchy shrubs could appear as a lighter shade of green."

The update covers 220 countries and territories, which equates to 18 billion football fields.