LONDON HAS BEEN GIVEN a 3D makeover in Google's Maps, allowing users to fly around the British capital's landmarks for a complete 360 view.
As long as users have the Google Earth layer in Google Maps checked, the update will kick in automatically and allow visitors to pan, zoom, tilt and rotate to explore the depths of the city, which Google has built from the ground up using 45-degree aerial imagery.
Famous landmarks such as Parliament, the Shard and Tower Bridge can be seen in 3D detailed imagery, which it seems is just one step away from a Sim City style virtual urban environment.
London is the latest city to receive a three dimensional upgrade in Google Maps and Google Earth, and the fifth UK metropolis after Birmingham, Leeds, Reading and Stoke on Trent to get the special Google mapping treatment. However, similar 3D models have been available in other mapping services like Apple Maps and Microsoft's equivalent for a while.
To view the 3D images of the capital, go to Google Maps, zoom into Central London and change the view from Map to Earth by clicking the box on the bottom left. Alternatively, users can download Google Earth and enter London into the Search box. Just make sure the 3D Buildings layer is the bottom left is checked. The 3D buildings will appear as you zoom in using your mouse or the right controls. For a clearer view make sure the Photos layer isn't selected.
Google is setting its sights on mapping the whole word in 3D. Earlier this year, it announced Project Tango, a prototype Android smartphone that incorporates 3D sensors so it can map the world around it.
The 5in handset prototype features custom hardware and software that enables it to make more than a quarter of a million 3D measurements each second, tracking three-dimensional motion to create a visual 3D map of the space around it.
Google is hoping that Project Tango will be able to create a map of the entire world, and in turn be able to offer directions to any specific point. µ