It does not seem that long ago that people were still digging maps out of their glove compartments when setting out on the road to travel. Using a paper map is fun and many people keep maps as souvenirs after a trip, marking the road traveled during the journey. However, for pure simplicity using GPS is an easy and reliable method of finding the quickest or most efficient path during any trip. Google Maps is an application that can be used on a desktop or laptop computer and can also be used on a smartphone. Google recently unveiled a new feature people can use with the Google Maps app that Google refers to as “3D Helicopter view.”
The Google LatLong blog post for Friday, September 30 was written by Paul Yang, Google Maps engineer. The post provided detailed information on how the 3D Helicopter view is now integrated with Earth view on Google Maps.
To use this feature you must first have the Google Earth plug-in installed on your system. It is a free download and installs quickly. Once you have Google Earth installed go to Google Maps, enter in the starting point of your journey and the destination. Click the appropriate driving, transit, biking or walking directions for your trip. An individual that has previously used Google Maps will recognize these instructions. Now is when there are additional steps to the process.
The upper right hand corner of the map on your screen will have a “Maps” icon. When you place your cursor over that image an “Earth” icon will appear to the left. Once you click that icon an image similar to this one will appear:
Not all users will be able to try out the actual helicopter feature. If you can use the tool you will see a Play button in the lower left of the 3D view. Pressing this button will allow you to “fly” along an animated path so you can view from above the route you will take to arrive at your destination. While “flying” if you want to pause the flight and look around on the map you may click the pause button, which is also located in the bottom left hand corner of the 3D view screen.
This is a great new function from Google and best of all, it costs nothing to install the Google Earth plug-in. When you have some free time go to Google Maps and check out the latest function created by the folks at Google.