Fly Around London for Free with 3D Google Map

Fly Around London for Free with 3D Google Map

Interactive map lets you soar above the city’s skies from your computer or mobile screen

Vashti Hallissey
  • 24 july 2014

Peter Pan used magic, Mary Poppins held onto an umbrella and Harry Potter had a broomstick but we haven’t heard of anyone flying over London on a laptop. But now you can take to the city’s skies from your screen with a new interactive 3D map by Google.

To begin your journey, just type in a central London address, select Earth and click on the tilt option in the right-hand corner of the screen. You can then pan, zoom, tilt and rotate around your chosen destination to view it from any angle.

The possibilities are endless. You could soar above St Paul’s Cathedral, circle the Big Ben or fly over the Shard. If you fancy visiting a few famous characters, you could go to Sherlock’s house on Baker Street, view Shakespeare’s Globe or pop by to see the Queen at Buckingham Palace.


Google has created this experience by piecing together aerial imagery of the city. A Google spokesperson tells TechRadar:

Using 45-degree aerial imagery, we’re able to recreate entire metropolitan areas in 3D. This means every building, not just the famous landmarks, the terrain, and any surrounding landscape of trees are included to provide a much more accurate and realistic experience of the city. As you zoom into London on Google Maps or Google Earth, buildings and terrain will start to appear in 3D.

They began by using topographical surveys to create grey, block forms and then replaced these with 3D models of the buildings. The center of the city, including the trees and greenery, are rendered in vivid detail.

This isn’t the first time Google Maps have offered sensational journeys from the screen. In a recent Easter Egg, Google invited people to plan their journeys via a Game of Thrones’ Dragons, calculating Targaryen travel time.Last year they teamed up with Warner Bros. Pictures to map out Tolkien’s mythical lands, giving users the chance to explore to explore Middle Earth from their armchairs. This is a mode of travel Bilbo would probably enjoy. Last summer, people who visited a particular police box on a Google Streetview of Earl’s Court Road in London were in for a treat, as they could access Doctor Who’s time machine.

For users who prefer to stay in the realms of fact rather than fiction, Google overlays historical data onto modern maps so that people can access information from organizations like NASA and World Bank Group while they explore.

London is the fifth city in the UK that you can fly over with just the click of a button. Google has also created 3D interactive renderings of Leeds, Reading, Birmingham and Stock-on-Trent.

And once you are tired of London, although that could mean that you are tired of life, you can travel to other cities that have had the 3D map treatment. Pay a flying visit to Paris, Rome, New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Munich or Luxembourg without having to splash out on plane tickets or even leave the house.

[h/t] Time Out London, TechRadar

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