Google Maps picks up mapping analytics and visualization startup Urban Engines

This isn’t so much an acquisition as a welcoming back into the fold. Urban Engines was formed in 2014 by a bunch of former Google employees, with backing from Google Ventures and Eric Schmidt. The startup was formed to help deal with urban congestion and improve user commutes.

Last February, the company launched a self-titled app that brings some key features to mobile mapping – among them speedy computation, an augmented reality mapping mode and the ability to utilize maps offline line in the key North American launch cities, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington, D.C.

Urban Engines uses the buzz phrase the “internet of moving things” to describe its big picture idea, utilizing analytics gathered by urban commuters to help control the flow of cities. And now the company is taking its data collection and platform back to the Mountain View mothership.

Hidden way down in a blog post outlining the company’s history, Urban Engines announced that it’s being rolled into the Google Maps team, “we’re excited to combine forces to help organizations better understand how the world moves.”

There’s not a lot in the way of information regarding how the company will fit in the larger Google ecosystem, but certainly it has a lot to bring to the Google Maps app, as well as data analytics that will help bolster the mapping team’s underlying infrastructure.