Sunday, October 02, 2011

Google's Maps now offer a helicopter view of your directions route

There have been times that protesters have prevented Google Street View cars from entering areas before, but they won't be able to do anything about this: a helicopter or aerial view of Google Maps.

Users will, of course, still be able to get images removed, if they so desire.

It's only available when you are using the directions feature of Google Maps. The helicopter view is sort of a a bird's eye view of directions.

The idea is for an end user to use the 3D view or helicopter view to see what he's going to be observing during a road trip, or even hiking or bicycling. It's might not be something you'll want to use if you're just driving in the city.

Here's an idea of how to use it, from Google's blog post on the new feature.
Let’s say you’re planning a road trip down the beautiful coast of California’s Highway 1 and want to be able to see what the route really looks like. California’s rugged coastline is not to be missed, but the top-down view really doesn’t give you a good sense of what this majestic terrain is like. Using the 3D preview; however, you can get aerial view of the route, as if you were in a helicopter flying above the road.

To preview your own route, it is as simple as clicking on a button. Start by entering your starting point, destination, and mode of transport like any directions; in this case, driving directions from ‘Carmel CA to Big Sur CA.’ Then, just click on the “3D” play button. The map will switch to Earth view and automatically start flying you along your recommended route.

You can pause the flight at any time by clicking anywhere in the 3D view or on the pause button in the lower left. While the flight is paused, you can explore the surrounding area in 3D by clicking and dragging the map. When you are ready to resume the flight, simply click on the play button in the lower left of the 3D view.
It's a nice addition, and we wonder how long before Google adds it to its mobile Maps app, as well.

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