Google MapsGL

Caitlin Dempsey


Google’s LatLong blog posted about GoogleMapsGL which combines Google Maps and Web Graphics Library (WebGL) in order to step up the visual display and animation of its web mapping application.  The technology brings 3D graphics to web browsers without the need to install 3D software.

Supported browsers for WebGL are Chrome 14+ or Firefox Beta and the new technology can be previewed by visiting Google Maps and clicking the “Want to try something new?” box at the bottom left corner of the page (or visit  Users will also need to have a graphics card that supports this technology.  More about the requirements are on Google’s WebGL help page.

Once WebGL is enabled within Google Maps, a guided tour is available that takes the user through 3D buildings in London, England, oblique (45 degree) imagery in Rome, Italy where imagery can be rotate 360 degrees.  Lastly, the technology allows the users to “swoop into Street View” by grabbing the Pegman icon perched onto of the zoom slider and place it anywhere blue lines appear within Google Maps.

Google MapsGL view of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
Google MapsGL view of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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