Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Google Maps Goes all 3D on London

Google Maps has given London a 3D makeover, allowing us to fly around the city like never before. Click on the Earth view of the map and, voilà, you are now flying through the virtual city as if in a computer game. All the buildings, bridges and landmarks within London are rendered and their perspectives change as you scroll around.

London is the latest UK city to receive the new makeover, others include Birmingham, Leeds, Reading and Stoke-on-Trent. So now you do not need to go to the top of the Shard to see what London looks like, simply pull it up on Google Maps and move around. What is more, weather will never get in your way. It is am impressive achievement, yet Google plans for more with the release of Project Tango and the desire to create a 3D map of the entire world, inside and out.

These 3D maps are an addition to the Street View panoramas (or photospheres as Google likes to call them). The later still provide the best images from street level, producing interactive virtual tours of cities, like this virtual tour of London. While amazing, the 3D rendering from Google maps looses detail at close zoom, detail which is clearly picked up in panoramas shot at street level like the one below.

© Peter Watts, originally written for Panoramic Earth.

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New Panoramas on Panoramic Earth