Well, I’m a huge Google fan (who isn’t). Google has been innovating and coming up with many useful features across it’s various products. What’s more, many of these features are released without much fanfare. This makes finding and discovering them truly delightful. I don’t know how many of you’ll are aware, but google maps also collects and stores terrain data. It’s something I wasn’t aware of until accidentally discovering it. I had noticed the 3D button on google maps’ earth view many times. I even clicked it a couple of times. However, as I was looking at a plane area at that time, it didn’t seem to make much difference. Recently, I tried it again, and this time, I was luckily in a hilly region. Below is an amazing screenshot of what I got.
So basically, google seems to be recording elevation data as well. This means mountains and hills can be easily visible when you switch to the 3D view.
The 3D view is visible only when using the earth view instead of the map view. Here’s a quick video demonstrating the feature.
To get into 3D view
- Using google maps, go to some hilly region. This helps you ensure you are following the steps correctly.
- Ensure you’re in earth view when using google maps. This can be done by clicking the earth icon (small square thumbnail at the bottom left ). This should enable a 3D button to the right.
- Click the 3D button to enable the 3D mode. This will tilt the view slightly. The tilt is normally slight and might not reflect any substantial changes in the main view.
- CTRL + Click + Drag to manipulate the angle of the view.
- Use scroll to zoom the viewpoint.
- Click and drag can be used for panning.
- Explore and enjoy!
I’ve been exploring areas all over ever since, here’s some more screenshots for your viewing pleasure.
The ones above are from India and Nepal, mostly the Himalayas. Here’s some more from Switzerland, here I discovered google even created 3D models of each house and other infrastructure.
I bet there’s a lot more to be explored, and covered. While some places do lack detail both in imagery as well as structure, I think it’s a remarkable feat to have covered major terrain data across the world. Feel free to share more places you may have found on Google Maps 3D view.