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  • Writer's pictureHimadri Sur

700+ Colors to only 25 Major and Minor Tones : #Google Maps had a complete makeover


Then and now of Google Maps
Then and now of Google Maps

Almost 96% of users never thought how many colors might have been used in one of the most widely used application: Google Maps. It was 700+ colors were used in Google Maps for 15 years.

When it launched in 2005, Google Maps was used to reach from one place to another. As time passed, it became our habit not only for navigation but to get any possible information about any location, be its geological presence or availability of any physical stuffs say restaurants, hotels, rails, airports, grocery shop, schools, lakes and innumerable stuffs.


An UX Study for self enhancement within Google had revealed that for multiple colors have been used to identify similar stuffs on the Earth, say for similar dense forest there were 4-5 shades of colors were used. The team wanted to stream down them to one color shade by exploring hypothesis on whether they can reduce down the palette to a smaller number of swatches while retaining all the rich details on the map.


One of the challenge they faced was most of the colors were undocumented and they had to make this simple so that team can make any kind of changes whenever needed. The main objective of the entire task was about their users, so that they can understand the World around them, better. At the same time they had to bring more richness about the real world into the Map and show what an area actually looks like and feels like.


Google used new color-mapping algorithmic technique that can take the high-definition satellite imagery used for Google Maps and turn it into what Google says is a "comprehensive, vibrant map of an area at a global scale." They dramatically streamlined a palette of 700+ colors down to 25 major and minor tones—all while making the Map more accessible and more recognizable.


Content Source Credit: Google

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