Google's Street View, Streets, Cell-IDs, 3D Buildings, Mobile OS, Handsets, Mobile Apps: Game Over

It's been a while since I've looked at Google's Street View coverage. I just played around with the drag and drop man at different scales, including large ones, and it now looks like they've driven every road in the US.


The rest of the world is good too, including an impressive effort in Australia. 


I have no idea what else Google vehicles are collecting beyond street network geometries and street view images, but I have to assume that since they're out there driving every inch of asphalt, why not capture additional data with other sensors. I once thought they were crowdsourcing Cell-ID data from mobile phones, which still may be true, but surely they can capture this data while driving around as well. Wireless drive test equipment and systems have been around for years that do exactly this. Google could also collect ground level LIDAR and drape the DEMs over sketchup 3D warehouse creations. Why not... I can imagine a vehicle outfitted with all the required sensors to do all of this.

If any of this speculation is true, I'm about to admit that the mobile LBS ecosystem is nearing an end. Combine all of this collected geodata with an Android OS effort that includes smartphone devices with cameras, GPS, accelerometers, and magnetometers, and I see a future version of Google maps for mobile on Android that includes multiple non-network mobile location determination options, peer-to-peer location sharing, augmented reality local search, geocoded buildings in 3D with real-world image drapes plus building drawings, and turn-by-turn audible navigation, not to mention any other geodata layer that can be overlaid, Google's or otherwise. Combined, all of these sources of geodata and technology represent all the pieces of the entire value-chain, but consolidated under one entity.  

Also, based on some other mobile AR apps I've seen recently on iPhone, I can see all this eventually materializing beyond the below humble offering we use today in a Web browser. I think this is just a teaser.  


Or maybe not. I could be crazy. If any of this becomes a combined Google offering, I may have to consider dumping my now 10 year-long career in geo-mobile LBS to pursue another field. That, or convince Google to hire me once I finish my PhD. I heard they only hire PhDs.