Google Maps Sends You Aloft with 3-D Helicopter View
|New 3-D helicopter view from Google Maps.|
Google today (Oct. 3) added a three-dimensional helicopter view to its popular Google Maps “Get Directions” feature. Particularly stunning over scenic terrain, helicopter view can add a sense of adventure to humdrum commutes.
Before getting started, make sure Google Earth plug-in is installed on your device. Open Google Maps and enter a starting point and destination. Select mode of transportation such as driving directions and then click “Get directions.” A button marked 3D will appear next to “Driving directions.” The map will switch to Earth view and automatically start “flying” along the recommended route.
You can pause the helicopter flight at any time by clicking anywhere in the 3-D view or on the pause button in the lower left corner of the map. While the flight is paused, users can explore the surrounding area by clicking and dragging the map. The zoom is smooth and accurate.
But Google has not worked all the kinks out of its routing programs. We encountered a problem with a recommended 3-D route over the Golden Gate Bridge. The route took us under the bridge and through the water. More work needs to be done in coordinating the images from Google’s map sources in the new mode. For now, helicopter view offers another way to interact with Google Maps that’s more engaging than useful.