Google's 3D Helicopter View  (Source:
The new 3D Helicopter View allows travelers to see a 3D preview of their route from a bird's-eye view

Google has released a new member to its Google Maps family: 3D Helicopter View.

Google Maps currently has 2D top-down view and 360-degree street-level view, but the new 3D Helicopter View allows travelers to see a 3D preview of their route from a bird's-eye view.

"Let's say you're planning a trip down the beautiful coast of California's Highway 1 and want to be able to see what the route really looks like," said Paul Yang, Google Maps engineer. "California's rugged coastline is not to be missed, but the top-down view really doesn't give you a good sense of what this majestic terrain is like. Using the 3D preview, however, you can get aerial view of the route, as if you were in a helicopter flying above the road."

Currently, it only works in a full browser with the Google Earth plugin. To see a certain route in 3D Helicopter View, make sure the Google Earth plugin is installed, and simply choose "Get directions" in Google Maps. Type in a desired origin and destination, then click the "3D" play button.

"You can pause the flight at any time by clicking anywhere in the 3D view or on the pause button in the lower left," said Yang. "While the flight is paused, you can explore the surrounding area in 3D by clicking and dragging the map. When you are ready to resume the flight, click on the play button in the lower left of the 3D view."

Sources: RedOrbit, Gizmag, Google LatLong

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