Google Maps has gone and given itself a new 3D helicopter view that allows you to preview your journeys from above. 

The idea is that as previous versions of Google Maps didn't give you a good feeling for terrain as they were top down, the new journey-based 3D view will allow you to see exactly what your trip will look like, hills and all. 

Head over to Google Map's website and click get directions, enter two different locations and then hit the 3D button. Google Maps will then transform itself into the Earth view and you will be treated to a helicopter style fly through of your trip. During the flight things can be paused and then the terrain explored, you can resume just by hitting play. 

Like conventional GPS, each standout point on your trip is highlighted as your helicopter view travels along the journey. You can skip to select parts by clicking them in the directions bar on the left. 

You are going to need Google Earth for your browser installed in order to get things working properly, but believe us it is worth it. Exploring your local coastline in particular can reveal some pretty spectacular routes you might not have previously known about. 

What is your favourite bit in Google Maps? Let us know in the comments below ...