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Download: Terrain View Makes a Return in Google Maps 8.1.0

Update Wednesday may have come and gone, but Google’s not finished with bug fixes and enhancements yet. A wide swath of apps have already been graced with upgrades, but Google Maps is the latest, and its a doozy. Sort of. 

Version 8.1.0 marks the triumphant return of terrain view, the topographic map layer that has been missing since the Maps overhaul last July. If you recall, terrain view shows the elevation of geographic features like cliffs, valleys, and mountains, which could be useful when planning a hike. Or cheating on a geology test. Either way, regaining such a feature can only be perceived as a positive thing.

Unfortunately, terrain view seems to be the only user-facing change in Maps 8.1.0. Given the complete overhaul Maps received earlier this month, though, we probably should not have expected much. Here’s hoping for more substantial improvements around I/O.

We have provided a direct download link below, that way you don’t have to worry for the update to populate on Google Play for your device. Just sideload as you would any other application.

Play Link | Download Link

  • Higher_Ground

    Judging from the comments thusfar and my own personal experience, it seems to me that Google has been trying over the last several overhauls to integrate the navigation app into the maps app, to the hinderance of the app’s functionality as an actual map. Several people have compained over the lack of previous features, and their slow reimplementation. It seems obvious that putting back the previous features is a low priority. To each his own, but I think just about every aspect of the app from the map view was much better in previous versions. The ‘places’ part of the maps app is a mixed bag, where some information is improved but

    I kinda prefered having navigation as it’s own app. If you think about it, a map is not really for navigating while you drive. It’s for planning a trip or for finding someplace. The directions function served as a bridge between the two, and was pretty much all I wanted. It allows you to plan ahead and not have to rely on the navigation app to tell you what to do in a sufficient amount of time to react. Sure, navigation is great when it works but very rarely does a map fail (at least compared to navigation) and most of the time I don’t want or need turn by turn directions dictated to me.

    I guess what I’m saying is that while I do appreciate all the work they’ve put into navigation, I wish they would have left the maps app alone and just built up the navigation app instead.
    And while I’m at it, do they have any direction what-so-ever for Google Earth?

  • interstellarmind

    They need to bring back the measuring feature!

    • Trevor

      I agree; this was awesome!

  • “Unfortunately this is the only change…”

    Are you kidding? This is a MAJOR pro for Google Maps. Lots of people who spend time outdoors utilized terrain view when hiking, biking, etc. This is huge news!

    • JRomeo

      i’m still waiting for them to give me back my ability to view saved maps.

  • Jared Denman

    Bring back latitude!

  • Bendo

    I want a weather radar layer.

    • michael arazan

      Rainy Days app in the play store uses google maps with a weather radar, plain and simple radar map, been using it for 3 years

  • morgan boyle

    just give me all the WAZE data points in google maps! i prefer the look and feel of Maps but knowing a cop or redlight camera is down the road is HUGE. plus all the other real time traffic issues.

    • Jason Kahn

      I have a feeling Google Map swill never offer this due to the potential Legal/Publicity issues. Waze will keep it because it was already there.

      • morgan boyle

        i could see them not including the function to report this information but i dont see a good reason for them not to use the data.

  • Tyler

    Nice that with 8.x, they are finally replacing all the features they stripped out for version 7.x…only took Google 11 months!?!

  • This is great for when I visit Mount Rainer, Mount Saint Helen, and The Cascade Mountains. I love hiking and exploring, this will really help. Perfect update for me.

    • Daistaar

      How about Mount Doom? Let me know if there are any issues. I’m thinking of heading there with 8 friends.

      • In Washington state?? Never heard of that one.

  • Aaron

    Anybody know how to make Google Maps point in the direction you are facing when using navigation?

    • aBabyPenguin

      Hit the compass on the top right corner of the screen. That ought to do it.

  • Daistaar

    Definitely happy with the way Google Maps has turned around. Navigation was outstanding this last memorial weekend with lane guidance and Waze-like traffic updates. Definitely smoother than my Tom Tom.

    • Aaron

      I love Maps for Navigation, but am really not liking how it no longer points in the direction you are traveling.

      • Daistaar

        Hmmm… I felt like it was guiding me forward the whole time. Is that what you mean? If so it worked for me on my GS4. Got me through so highways I’ve never been on and kept me on the correct lanes fire merging and exiting.

      • markp99

        Tap the Compass symbol on the map, will change modes…

      • Big EZ

        Ocassionally after updates it defaults to the north is up instead of the direction your heading is up. I believe all you have to do is tap on the directional pointer in the top corner.

    • aBabyPenguin

      Those two features are invaluable while driving around in Los Angeles! I was so excited for that last update 🙂

  • Shane Redman

    maybe now I can get elevation stats for my bike routes home from work…

    • panicswhenubered

      ^Definitely this. Plus, the ability to measure distances in the app too. Both have been missing since the 8.0 overhaul.

    • moelsen8

      until the next update at least.

    • Higher_Ground

      I use a route tracker app. I’m sure there are countless different apps in the play store, but it would be great if the actual Google Maps app itself provided such a feature since they seem determined to make it much more than a map.
      My main gripe is that there’s nowhere to view a KML file. I can take the output from the tracking app and load it into Google Earth on a PC and see the elevation data, but the mobile apps don’t seem to support it. I’ve been asking (to no one in particular I guess) for KML/KMZ support for years now. It seems like such an afterthought for Google, though, that I don’t think it will ever be supported.

      • Shane Redman

        Well, according to android police, the code is there, it’s just not turned on yet. I can wait. It’s not like I’m planning a ride or anything. I’m just curious about the stats for my daily ride.