Sign up for our newsletter
Environment / Sustainability

You can use Google Maps to look at city skylines in 3d and somehow we never noticed

Okay, this is one of those posts where we’d be lying if we told you it was news.

It’s news to us – hence the fact we’ve just lost an excitable hour playing with Google Maps, making the sort of “oh” and “ah” noises that normal people reserve for spectacular stunts and tiny babies. But we don’t think it’s news in the purest sense of “something that has only recently happened”.

If there’s any truth that CityMetric holds to be self evident, however, it’s that people really, really like maps – and if we enjoyed this, then a large number of you probably will, too. So here’s what we’ve just found out:

You can use Google Maps to look at cities’ skylines in 3d.

White papers from our partners

New York, New York, at its SimCity-ish best (click to expand). Image: Google.

I know, right?

Assuming that at least some of you aren’t just thinking, “God, guys, we’ve known this for ages”, here’s how you do it. First of all, in the bottom left hand corner, you press the button labelled “Earth”.

That gives you something like this:

Click to expand. Image: Google.

…which is nice if you’re the sort of person who likes looking at rooftops, but it’s not all that 3d. To get to that you have to press this button here:

Click to expand. Image: Google.

Tilt the map once and you get something like this:

Click to expand. Image: Google.

If that’s not titled enough for you, press it again and it looks like this:

Click to expand. Image: Google.

That’s the view looking north from CityMetric towers. Here’s the view looking east.

Click to expand. Image: Google.

Before we get too London-centric, here’s the view over Newcastle:

Click to expand. Image: Google.

And here’s Edinburgh:

Click to expand. Image: Google.

That grey blob is the castle.

Skylines get less interesting as you get out into suburbia though. Here’s a view over Havering, out on London’s eastern fringe:

Click to expand. Image: Google.

Not much to see really. All very low density.

There are other issues with this functionality. It takes a while to render, hence the patches of blurriness. And some people are just, well, freaked out:

But anyway, this is now a thing, and you should go play with it. Seriously – knock yourselves out.


Like maps? Like us on Facebook. We also like maps. Makes sense, right?
This article is from the CityMetric archive: some formatting and images may not be present.