Skip to main content

A Giant called Google...

    Wondering what you will be reading in this post today and what is "Google Giant"! Well, I was working on a simple project a couple of months back and that is the time when I was amazed and by the size of data that Google Maps servers might be having! As most of the readers (developers and enthusiast included) would know or might have noticed, Google maps are rendered by stitching small images together. You must have observed this on quite a number of occasions, when you see grey tiles when you have a slow internet connection in particular. It takes time for the images or tiles as we call them to be displayed.

    Let us try and estimate what could be the size of the Google Maps data! Before proceeding, let's make a few assumptions and considerations.
1. Let's consider the Google Street View maps only.
2. The zoom level that is considered for the calculations is 21 - the max zoom level allowed on Google Maps API.
3. All the numbers are just an estimate and not actual values.

    Google maps zoom level goes from 0 to 21, displaying 1 image at zoom level 0 and 4,398,046,511,104 (about 4 trillion i.e. 4x10^12) image or tiles at zoom level 21. 4,398,046,511,104 tiles at zoom level 21 represent the entire world surface which is about 510.072 million sq km (196.940 million sq mi). Lets say, about 70.9% of the world is water and 29.1% is land, which would mean about 3,118,214,976,373 tiles would all be blue in color. About 30% of the land area is under forest cover, which means about 383,949,460,419 tiles would be green in color. The remaining 895,882,074,312 will have multiple colors depending upon what part of the land is part of these tiles. If the numbers have gotten too large, let's tabulate them.

Sr. No. No. of tiles Color of tiles
1 3,118,214,976,373 Blue
2 383,949,460,419 Green
3 895,882,074,312 Multicolored

    Now that we have a clear picture of the number of tiles and the colors they would have, let's try and estimate the size of these tiles. Each tile or image is 256x256 pixels and each blue and green color tile/ image would then be around 4KB each. This means that the total size in KB of all the green and blue colored tiles/ images would be about 14,008,657,747,168KB; that's about 13,046.5TB. This is huge and still there are about 0.8 trillion tiles left whose size needs to be calculated.

    Let us go ahead and do that as well. Since these remaining tiles are multicolored, the size of each tile ranges in between 13 to 17KB. For our calculations, let's assume that the size of each of the multicolored tile is about 15KB. That would mean that the total size of these tiles is about 13,438,231,114,680KB; that's about 12,515TB.

    That means; if my math is not wrong; the size of all the Google Map tiles for Google Map Street View at zoom level 21 alone is about 25,500TB.
    This 25K TB space is required to save tiles only for one type of Google Map at the highest zoom. There are tiles at other zoom levels and also tiles of other map types - Satellite Map and the Terrain Map. The labels that appear in the Hybrid map type is also a separate layer on top of the Satellite map. That means about 25K TB more for the satellite map at zoom level 21 and about the same for hybrid map at the same zoom level. Plus about a 15K TB for the labels layer in hybrid map. If the approximation is to believed, Google has around 100 thousand TB space for the maximum zoom level of all the map types.

    Yes, it seems comical to attempt such a calculation where every step of the way requires an approximation. That's why in the end I end up with a such a wide chasm of error. And, of course, this rough analysis does not cover area distortion introduced by mapping the globe's points onto a two dimensional surface. But, there you have it - the story of "Google - A Giant".

Recommended for You

Where does Google get it's live traffic data from?

Referring to a post that I wrote earlier, Google’s - Live traffic Layer, ever wondered how Google collected this data? I was wondering the other day, how Google received live data to display it on their maps as a layer! I looked up the web and found something very interesting and am sharing the same with you all.As we all know, the traffic layer is available most accurately in several states in USA. Most major metro areas in the US have sensors embedded in their highways. These sensors track real time traffic data. Easy to miss at high speeds (hopefully anyway, traffic permitting), more commonly noticed may be the similar sensors that often exist at many busy intersections that help the traffic lights most efficiently let the most amount of people through. The information from these tracking sensors is reported back to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT uses this data to update some of the digital signs that report traffic conditions in many metro areas. They also…

Geodesic Polyline

Today we will have a look at a very interesting polyline example - "The geodesic polyline". Now the first question that will pop is "What is geodesic?". Mathematically, geodesic means the shortest line between two points on a mathematically defined surface, as a straight line on a plain or an arc of a great circle or sphere.

    The next question after reading the above definition is clearly, "Why do we need geodesic polylines?" and that would be followed up with "What is this Great Circle?". We will discuss this first, before we move on to the actual example today. The example is very very similar to the normal polyline example, with just a small change.

    Having said so, I will now try to explain why we need a geodesic polyline? The shortest distance between two locations on the earth is rarely a straight line as the earth is roughly spherical in nature. So any two points on the earth, even if they are very close lie on a curve and not …

Difference between word-break: break-all versus word-wrap: break-word

The 2 CSS properties word-break: break-all and word-wrap: break-word appear to work in the same way or generate the same output, but there is a slight difference between the 2 and we will be discussing these differences today.

    Take a look at the example above. The difference is quite evident, however I will try to explain it further.

word-break: break-all Irrespective of whether it’s a continuous word or many words, break-all breaks them up at the edge of the width limit even within the characters of the same word
word-wrap: break-word This will wrap long words onto the next line.break-word adjusts different words so that they do not break in the middle.
    So if you have many fixed-size spans which get content dynamically, you might just prefer using word-wrap: break-word, as that way only the continuous words are broken in between, and in case it’s a sentence comprising many words, the spaces are adjusted to get intact words (no break within a word).     In case you want to exp…

Ground Truth - How Google Builds Maps

Todays's article is cross posted from The Atlantic's Tech section. The article was posted by Alexis Madrigal who is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology channel. So, thanks to The Atlantic and Alexis Madrigal, we will have an exclusive look inside Ground Truth, the secretive program to build the world's best accurate maps.

    Behind every Google Map, there is a much more complex map that's the key to your queries but hidden from your view. The deep map contains the logic of places: their no-left-turns and freeway on-ramps, speed limits and traffic conditions. This is the data that you're drawing from when you ask Google to navigate you from point A to point B -- and last week, Google showed me the internal map and demonstrated how it was built. It's the first time the company has let anyone watch how the project it calls GT, or "Ground Truth," actually works.
    Google opened up at a key moment in its evolution. The co…

Playing with the markers and info window bubbles...

In the last few posts, we have seen some marker examples and some information window examples. Now, lets do something interesting combining these two things. Just writing that "This is an info window" in the information bubble is not very interesting! And I know this...Have gone through the same phase!

    So, today we will do something interesting! We will display the latitude- longitude co-ordinates of the point that the user clicks on the map! Doing this is not at all complex! Copy paste the following code and you will see for yourself a map coming to life!

    The output of the above code looks as seen in the result section above! If you have any queries regarding the above code please comment on the blog post or feel free to contact me at my mail ID.