‘The next generation of maps is taking us over the garden fence,’ he warned. ‘You won’t be able to sunbathe in your garden without worrying about an Apple or Google plane buzzing overhead taking pictures.’

He said householders should be asked for their consent before images of their homes go online. Apple is expected to unveil its new mapping applications for its iPhone and other devices today – along with privacy safeguards. Its 3D maps will reportedly show for the first time the sides of tall buildings, such as the Big Ben clock tower.

Google expects by the end of the year to have 3D coverage of towns and cities with a combined population of 300million. It has not revealed any locations so far.