Dec 16 AT 12:33 PM Taylor Wimberly 74 Comments

Google Maps 5.0 now available in the Android Market with 3D maps

One of the first apps I went to check out when I opened my Nexus S was the new Google Maps 5, but sadly it was not pre-installed on the device. Thankfully the update just hit the Android Market and now anyone can play with it (although some new features are limited to devices with Android 2.0+).

Surprisingly, the update to Maps version 5 is not showing up on my Nexus S, but I was able to download it on a T-Mobile G2. The 3D maps look awesome, but they still load kind of slow (even over WiFi) and you can see sections of buildings pop-up just like you could see map tiles load.

The new map caching is supposed to reduce the amount of data that is transferred by the app and I did notice a big speed improvement when just scrolling and zooming around the map. The transitions are much smoother when zooming in and I like that you can now rotate the view by twisting your fingers.

Overall it’s a pretty slick update, but I want to play with it some more. There is supposed to be offline navigation that I want to test and I also want to see how it performs on the Nexus S if I can get it to load.

Android 1.6+ devices can get Maps 5.0, but 3D and offline features require Android 2.0+, and some features may not be supported for all devices or countries.. If you try it out on your phone, be sure to let us know how it works.

Fully-supported devices:

The following devices support panning, zooming, tilting, and rotating gestures.

  • Samsung Nexus S
  • Samsung Galaxy S
  • Motorola Droid
  • Motorola Droid 2
  • Motorola Droid X
  • HTC Incredible
  • HTC EVO 4G
  • HTC G2

Partially-supported devices:

The following devices support panning, zooming, and tilting gestures only.

  • HTC Desire
  • Sony Ericsson X10
  • LG Ally
  • HTC Nexus One

Note: This list of devices may be incomplete and may change in the future as new Android phones are available for purchase.

Recently changed in this version:

  • Tilting: Drag down with two fingers to tilt the map. Tilt while zoomed in on one of the 100+ cities around the world with 3D buildings to see a skyline spring to life.
  • Rotating: Twist with two fingers to rotate the map. After tilting to see 3D buildings, rotate around them to gain a new perspective from any direction.
  • Smooth zooming: Slide two fingers together or apart, and see the map and labels continuously scale to any zoom level, stopping when your fingers stop.
  • Compass mode: Center the map on your location, and then tap the compass button in the top right corner. The map will flip into 3D mode and start rotating to match your perspective, while still keeping all the labels upright and readable.

google-maps-5-1 google-maps-5-2 google-maps-5-3 google-maps-5-4 google-maps-5-5

Source: Google Mobile Blog

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Anil

    Awesome..updated now. Galaxy S 2.2 , India.

  • http://Website skyste

    Anyone else noticed that on the help site the Nexus one is now an HTC device? “HTC Nexus One” (

    • http://Website Spencer

      It is made by HTC…the Nexus One was made by HTC, the Nexus S by Samsung. Two COMPLETELY different phones.

    • http://Website Matthew

      The nexus one was always reffered to as an htc device. The Google HTC Nexus One.

    • http://Website jdog25

      Personally I think they did it just to clear up any confusion because before their phone was made by one manufacturer but now there are two so they decided to label who made what phone.

  • Andr3w

    What phone is that in the video? It’s ugly, but i’ve never seen it before.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Looks like a Galaxy S phone.

      • Andr3w

        But it’s running Gingerbread…

        • SGB101

          its the nexus s

          • Andr3w

            The Nexus S has a different button layout at the bottom and the Galaxy S phones don’t run Gingerbread.

  • http://Website Steve Garon

    Sucks that the N1 is cursed with a crappy touch screen :(

    But still can`t wait to try that update :)

    • Tebbe

      It would be nice if Google would have included a “rotate” button for phones with touchscreens that can’t handle the gesture.

  • Evan

    App works fine, but I am unable to get two finger twisting/rotate to work on my Captivate :-/

  • Dean Williams

    Anyone have ANY idea why the MT4G isn’t supported?

    • http://Website Qrist12

      MT4G is supported! Update from market

    • http://Website Alan

      My mt4g works with all the new features….

  • http://Website jayy336

    Danng. I can’t even do the 3D maps on my N1. This is pretty much the only time I’ve felt disappointed with my N1. Ooo well.

    • AndyH_STi

      3D maps works great on my N1 running Froyo. Try zooming in on a different major city (Minneapolis works for me).

      • http://Website jayy336

        I got it working perfectly. Thanks.

        I didn’t zoom in enough. I love my N1 again haha.

  • http://Website CJ

    Works great on the Droid X

  • http://Website Russell

    Yeah I can’t get the rotation to work either on my OG…

  • http://Website darcy

    when i see the word samsung galaxy s
    it remains me of “skype is only available for sgs with froyo”
    but this time google didnt ditch me (captivate)

  • http://Website xallies

    I have Vibrant Galaxy S i cant get rotation!

  • Patrick

    I don’t get the point why its fully-supported by the Droid, but not by the Nexus One?

    • http://Website AC

      The N1 has an outdated touchscreen that doesn’t support proper multitouch. Only pinch to zoom.
      Also the fact that it has a weaker GPU is another contributing factor.

  • http://Website Phil Elms

    Installed the the update but didn’t get the vector maps on my Orange San Francisco (Android 2.1.1 in the UK) – no tilting, rotation or 3D buildings. The only new features mentioned on the intro screen were offline maps and an updated traffic information GUI.


  • Nathan

    okay, so i got the 3d working and the perspective, it’s awesome, but i can’t rotate on my N1.

    I’m doing the twist thing but it just keeps zooming in? another N1 multitouch fail?

    • Nathan

      just saw the link of supported devices. yup another N1 multitouch epic fail. Can’t wait to get the nexus s.

      • mvv_hyd

        This is perhaps first google update that’s not fully supported on N1. It’s already getting outdated by Google’s fast pace on Android in less than an year

  • http://Website Brandon

    cant seem to get 3D buildings here in NYC on my G2

    • http://Website brandon

      got fail on my part

      • http://Website Brian 2

        Did you have to change anything?

      • happydan

        What did you do? I’ve tried several cities on my DHD and can’t get 3D buildings to work. Is there a setting?

  • Nathan

    no rotate on samsung vibrant either. gonna go ahead and say google failed at this update. As another commenter said, need a rotate button ASAP. otherwise the 3d stuff is just eye candy.

  • http://Website geezagame


  • http://Website geezagame

    No mention of the Desire HD in the compatibility list but I can confirm full functionality. Tested over wifi buildings load fast, I like the way they ‘grow’ from the ground up as they appear on screen

  • http://Website izzoh

    No 3D either here with G2 in Houston.

  • http://Website Bill

    No rotate gesture on my Droid, and I know its multitouch system can handle it… It does compass-based rotation just fine.

    Other than that issue, Maps 5.0 FLIES! This sucker is fast! Need to jump in the car and see if Navigation has changed.


    • Stephen Shaw

      Rotate seems to be working just fine on my droid.

  • http://Website Brian 2

    No 3D anywhere with my Nexus S. I can tilt the view, but no buildings come up. Is there a specific setting you have to enable? It’s on wifi and doesn’t have a SIM card, but that shouldn’t matter.

    • http://Website anthony

      You need to go to a place that has 3d buildings. Try downtown in a popular city.

  • benge

    No rotate on HTC Desire which makes me a little sad, also no 3D buildings in the UK anywhere yet, tried zooming in on all major cities. I will be patient though!

  • http://Website Brian

    Anyone know what happened to the lab that allowed you to initiate a phone call or navigation right from the map?

  • http://Website Bill

    Locations with 3D buildings:


  • http://Website J240

    My mytouch 4G is not listed but I tried all the features and everything works flawlessly. Even without wifi. Fully supported! :) Add that to the list, Google!

  • http://Website Robert

    Works great on the Samsung Galaxy Tab with rotating gestures.

  • http://Website Ant

    MT3G, just updated and now my GPS seems to be about 15 miles off, it’s showing me 15 miles south of where I am. :(

  • Clark Wimberly

    After months of ” the Nexus S is no better than my Nexus One” its hilarious to see a day one feature leave N1 users in the cold.

    • http://Website Peter Parker


  • keridel

    it works a treat on my Desire HD! like a wet dream. (if 3d maps give you the horn)

  • keridel

    oh and as far as i can see no 3d buildings in UK..

    • http://Website Nick

      Check out Bill’s link above. It appears only Cardiff, Birmingham, Dublin have 3D buildings at the moment.

  • keridel

    ok i am not getting any 3d buildings…

    am i supposed to believe my Desire HD (HTC’s Android flagship!) cant get them to work??

  • http://Website Matthew

    Its not working on my Evo rooted 2.2. I get the two fingers pull down thing but the 3d buildings dont show up. the rotate works too.

    • http://Website Mattthew

      Oh, im in Denver, CO

  • keridel

    ok i think i have figured it lol.

    little thing really. 3d buildings not in sattelite view..

    normal view lots of buildings in 3d!

  • http://Website tracksforhire

    everything works fine on my MT4G

  • http://Website Garrett

    To get 3D to work, you have to turn the satellite layer off and view a city with 3d buildings. You have to be zoomed in enough as well. If you have the scale bar on (menu/more/labs/scale bar), “enough” is when the scale says 200 ft or lower.

    I can’t get the rotate gesture to work though on my Samsun Epic. Compass rotate works though (tap on the “My Location” button, it goes to your location and turns into a compass rose, tap again and compass mode turns on, tap again, it turns off).

    • http://Website Brian 2

      That did it, I wasn’t zoomed in far enough. Thanks!

  • http://Website matthew

    Add Motorola milestone xt720 to the fully supported list… sadly no froyo though : (

  • http://Website R Corn

    Everything works just fine on my MT4G!

  • http://Website Nathan T.

    This update is awesome. Works great on my original droid. Still need to try out the offline mode tho…

  • http://Website Ryan C
  • http://Website Murph

    What hardware does the Motorola Droid have that the Nexus One doesn’t? Very surprised the Google Experience phone, ahem, former Google Experience phone, can’t support this.

  • http://Website My Galaxy

    Everything seems to work on the Galaxy S, improvement on general functions and nice new features. 3d buildings work, but you have to goto a location that supports them. Compass worked once the calibration message came up and told me to move the phone in a figure of 8 to calibrate it.

  • http://Website Darian

    Confirmed to work very well on the Galaxy Tab. Very fast as well.

    All the features are functional, though as pointed out in the article, the initial load is a bit slow even over wi-fi. Once maps are cached, navigating around it’s significantly faster and smoother than the previous version.

  • http://Website Oxnar

    Shockingly, another Google app that is unavailable in the market. Love the international love Google is spreading.

  • destrocaipora

    Don’t have any of these features on my Hero with 2.1 in Brazil. /sad

    • http://Website jolle

      Yup. I was expecting not to be able to pan and tilt and rotate etc. But on my Hero there is zero–0–changes from 4.7. No vectors, no caching, no nothing.

      I mean, it’s probably the hardware limitations, but I am really surprised that there weren’t any mention that some 2.0+ phones would have zero support for anything whatsoever. To me, unfortunately, this upgrade is worthless.

      • mattcoz

        Yeah, I’m very disappointed in this, I was expecting we would at least get the vector support. I was all excited when I updated and then I zoomed in and was all :(

  • http://Website Peter

    Was sooo looking forward to this, but… can’t find it on the Market, and links from above just show me error. Wtf?! Currently in Turkey, me & my Desire

  • http://Website Adam James

    I can confirm that the HTC Desire actually supports rotation.

  • http://Website Charlles

    I have just tried the Google Maps on my Acer Liquid Metal and it looks amazing , as someone it doesn’t feel slow on my phone . I think this is a good improvement . I need to test a bit more .

    • http://Website Charlles

      … sorry I did a misspell . The Google Maps 5 can do the two finger gestures on my Acer Liquid Metal , but I can only see some 3D buildings downtown Helsinki.