Users of the Google Map App on Android phones will soon get a nice upgrade that will allow the app to render map images quicker, show 3D building representations, use the built-in compass to orient the map, and allow for offline caching.
It seems like Google has upped the ante yet again for mobile apps. The upgraded app has a new rendering engine that allows maps to be drawn as you activate them, making them load faster and using 100 times less data per map. This new renderer allows for the 3D generated buildings to be displayed as the user zooms into the street-level view; making for smoother transitions while zooming at different levels. Because of the way that the renderer works, Google Maps will have offline capabilities on mobile phones allowing for turn-by-turn navigation to recalculate a route even while not having a data connection.
The upgraded app will also use the built-in compass on the phone to automatically change orientation of the map for the user holding the phone. This feature alone will make this upgrade worth while, allowing the user to get their bearings quickly in unfamiliar locations.