Google Maps serves up 3D London

Google has updated the run of cities that benefit from 3D buildings in an update to Google Maps on Tuesday. 

The original run of 3D buildings were delivered with the arrival of Google Maps 5.0 back in December 2010 and in the UK we were only treated to Birmingham and Cardiff. 

Now you can add London to that mix which will please tourists and local pavement pounders alike. Elsewhere, Paris, Barcelona, Stockholm, Singapore, Lisbon and Boulder get the treatment, along with 11 unnamed South African cities (which we didn’t head off to explore).

Of course London is a big place, so we went to check out just how far these 3D buildings stretch in our hometown. 

The results are actually rather limited on day one, covering city blocks with roads as dividing lines. If you are on one side of the road you might get full 3D buildings, on the other you don’t, but we guess you have to have a limit at some point on the map. 

Westminster seems to be fairly well covered, as you’d expect with the run of tourist attractions on offer, but Buckingham Palace is about the edge of the map to the West, with nearby Microsoft’s offices getting the 3D treatment, but sadly Google London’s office in Victoria doesn’t.

The Tower of London seems to be the limit on the East, so the likes of Canary Wharf and Millennium Dome/O2 arena miss out.

To the north, Euston Station is about as far as you get, and this is on a branch of 3D buildings - nearby St Pancras and Kings Cross don’t get a look-in. South Londoners are shunned as usual, with the The Brit Oval and surrounding streets getting covered and nothing much further south of the river, but to be fair there isn't that much to look at down there.

Whilst we were in the area we noticed that Vauxhall Cross is simply called “MI6”, fortunately their opposite numbers in Thames House are spared the ignominy. 

As Google can add these features in the background we’re sure that there will be more 3D buildings incoming, especially to fill in missing attractions like St Paul's Cathedral, but in the meantime you can check-out a 3D London - and other cities - simply by zooming in on your mobile device or on Google Maps online.

Android users get the best experience, with the ability to rotate, zoom and change the viewing angle, whilst iPhone owners do get 3D buildings they don’t get the same freedom of movement.



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