Google’s update of their ubiquitous Maps application to version 5.0 brings a host of new features that make the software more friendly, functional, and downright awesome. And aside from 3D buildings and Hotpot integrations, the biggest change comes in the form of vector graphics. Not only do vector graphics ensure clarity and consistent image while zooming, in the case of Google Maps, they mean dynamic titles that are always oriented to your viewing perspective, as seen below:
Old (top) vs. new (bottom):
Pretty cool, right? And the reason vector graphics assist Maps in offline usability is because of the dramatic reduction in file sizes. Those image tiles you download to fill out the landscape in Maps pre-5.0 are image files. It takes over 360 billion of them to map the entire world! But Maps 5.0 uses vector graphics – a set of instructions that can fit in a much smaller file and produce far more desirable results.
Image file (top,) vector graphic (bottom):
Via Google Blog