In March, we shared news of a significant improvement over our previous 3D buildings in Google Maps, providing a much more recognizable view of thousands of important buildings around the world. Now, we’ve brought this enhanced 3D experience to Google MapsGL as well.

Google MapsGL is a true 3D experience affording a perspective called “parallax”, so you can get different views of a building depending on where you pan. Here are a few comparisons of this 3D upgrade for some landmarks around the world:

Here’s Big Ben before and after

the Eiffel Tower before and after

the Piazza del Duomo before and after

and the Seattle Space Needle before and after.

But those are just a few of the many improved 3D landmarks now available around the world. Along with our recent launch of Google MapsGL photo tours we hope you enjoy these more realistic perspectives and tours of buildings you might want to visit or see in your own neighborhoods!


The latest 45° imagery update in Google Maps features new imagery for 8 international locations and 11 U.S. locations. This also marks the first time we're publishing 45° imagery for France.

Avignon, France
The city of Avignon is the first place in France where 45° imagery will be available. Classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO, Avignon is full of history. The famous bridge “le pont d’Avignon” (referenced in the well-known French song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”) provides a spectacular view of the old city, including the “Palais des Papes” where 7 popes have resided.

These days, the city is well known for the “festival d’Avignon”. Every summer, Avignon becomes a city-theater transforming its architectural heritage into venues to host a contemporary performing arts festival.

View Larger Map

Rotterdam, Netherlands
Starting as a dam constructed in 1270 on the Rotte River, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial center. Its strategic location at the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta on the North Sea and at the heart of a massive rail, road, air and inland waterway distribution system extending throughout Europe is the reason that Rotterdam is often called the "Gateway to Europe".

View Larger Map

Miami, Florida
This imagery update also includes the southernmost 45° imagery in the United States so far: Miami, Florida. Besides its status as a popular tourist destination, there are several interesting tidbits about Miami. Since permanent weather recordings started in 1900, Miami has experienced snowfall only once. Moreover, the Port of Miami is also currently the world’s busiest in terms of passenger traffic and cruise lines.

View Larger Map

International: Avignon, France; Reus, Spain; Rotterdam, Netherlands; L'Alcudia, Spain; Gandia, Spain; Sueca, Spain; Burgos, Spain; Los Palacios Y Villafranca, Spain

US: Albany, GA; Omaha, NE; Baytown, TX; Miami, FL; Amarillo, TX; Monroe, LA; Manchester, NH; Alexandria, LA; Rapid City, SD; Loudon, TN; Farmington, NM

Happy exploring!
Posted by Gwen Cossoul, Maps for Business Technical Program Manager


Every year, millions of people pack their bags and head to far-off places to enjoy sites and cultures different from their own. While there, they snap photos to document their trip and share their excursions online. Yet none of these individual photos captures the experience of actually being immersed in a specific location. With today’s introduction of photo tours, a feature of Google Maps that guides you through a 3D photo scene, we're one step closer.

Photo tours are available for more than 15,000 popular sites around the world, from famous landmarks such as St. Mark’s Basilica in Italy to scenic treasures like Half Dome in Yosemite. They can be initiated from Google Maps in two ways. First, when you search for a place, such as Trevi Fountain, the results in the left panel will indicate if there is a photo tour available: click either the thumbnail image or the link to start the tour. Alternatively, if you’re browsing the map and click on the label for a particular landmark, the info window that appears will indicate if a photo tour is available.

To produce these photo tours, we use advanced computer vision techniques to create a 3D experience from public, user-contributed Picasa and Panaromio photos. We start by finding clusters of overlapping photos around major landmarks. From the photos, our system derives the 3D shape of each landmark and computes the location and orientation of each photo. Google Maps then selects a path through the best images, and adds 3D transitions to seamlessly guide you from photo to photo as if you’re literally flying around the landmark and viewing it from different perspectives.

Every photo is attributed to its contributor, and the more photos people share, the better the tours get. So if you have great photos of places you’ve visited on Picasa or Panoramio, make them public so they’ll be eligible for inclusion in these photo tours!

Please note that using photo tours requires Google Maps with WebGL. Check out a few of our favorites or visit this map to browse all the available tours. Enjoy touring!

Posted by Steve Seitz, Software Engineer, Google Maps


You can now visit the country of Ukraine through Street View in time for the 2012 European Football Championships. Located in the geographical center of Europe, Ukraine has many fascinating sites to explore.

At more than 1500 years old, the capital Kyiv is the oldest city in Central and Eastern Europe. You can know take a virtual stroll around the historical center of the city refereed to as the ‘Cradle of Slavic civilization’, including the UNESCO World Heritage listed sites of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and Saint Sophia Cathedral.

You can also explore the historical center of Lviv, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city dates back to the 14th century and features the Ploshcha Rynok central square.

The Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theatre is also now available, where artists like Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Enrico Caruso, Feodor Chaliapin performed.

Freedom Square in Kharkiv is the largest square in Eastern Europe and is home to the Derzhprom buildings. Constructed during the Soviet era, the ‘Palace of Industry’ was the tallest structure in Europe for its time in 1928.

Whether you are planning your visit for the European Football Championships in June 2012 or you simply want to explore our beautiful country, we hope you enjoy these special views of Ukraine. To learn more about Street View, visit the gallery.

Cross posted on the Official Google Blog

Every year, 3.5 million people come to Israel to visit ancient sites that are holy to billions of people, to walk among the unique stone of Jerusalem, or to relax on the beaches of the Mediterranean.

To help you explore Israel’s history and present, we’ve launched imagery of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Haifa on Street View. You can explore the narrow streets of Jerusalem’s Old City and each of its four quarters, walk along the Via Dolorosa and see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, visit the Western Wall and the Mount of Olives. You can stop by the Biblical Zoo, then visit the Israel Museum and the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum—and explore more with the Art Project and the Yad Vashem photo archive. Or you can stroll through Tel Aviv’s bohemian Neve Tzedek neighborhood and the ancient port of Jaffa, and take a virtual trip to some of Tel Aviv’s scenic beaches or to Haifa’s Baha’i Gardens.

We hope you’ll use Street View to discover, explore and more. Some are already using the new imagery to help others—for example, Access Israel, an organization working to make Israel more accessible for people with disabilities, has embedded Street View in its accessibility mapping project of Israeli cities (note: in Hebrew).

We’ll be adding more Street View coverage of sites and streets in the coming months, and are hoping to bring Street View to more places around the region soon. To see more, go to the Street View gallery.


Cross-posted from the Official Google and Google Green blogs

Since 1970, people all over the world have recognized April 22 as Earth Day, an opportunity to appreciate and generate awareness about the natural environment. Here at Google we strive to do our part to make sure our planet is healthy for years to come. From investing in renewable energy to building products that help people be greener in their own lives, we’re building a better web that’s better for the environment.

Today, we’re celebrating Earth Day in a variety of ways. The coming of spring inspired us to grow our annual Earth Day doodle right in our backyard. We planted seeds on a balcony at our Mountain View headquarters and watched them grow into what you see today. We’re also partnering with Friends of the Urban Forest to help make San Francisco schools a little greener.

To help you start a garden of your own, we’ve put together an Earth Day resource page. Explore community gardens and farmers’ markets on our interactive map, get discounted seeds to plant flowers, herbs, and vegetables in your own backyard and connect with other gardeners for planting tips and inspiration.

We hope you find these resources useful and enjoy gardening as much as we do. On our Mountain View, Calif. campus, we have community gardens where Googlers can grow and harvest their choice of herbs and vegetables. Company-wide, we focus on getting organic, locally-grown produce for our cafes. We purchase food directly from farms near our campuses, and learn about how our suppliers raise, farm, and harvest their food—all to ensure that we’re eating sustainably and being good to the environment.

We hope this Earth Day you are inspired to add a little green to the planet. Earth Day may only be a single day, but the actions we take can last for years to come.


The Google Earth and Maps Imagery team has published another batch of aerial and satellite imagery. In this post, we’ll look at newly released imagery that reflects the themes of past, present, and future.

2011: In the U.S., federal and state taxes were due this week as they are every year in mid-April for the previous year’s income. So in our first aerial example shown below, the structure on the left is the Sun Trust Bank Building, which houses the Internal Revenue Service’s Local Tax Assistant Center in Macon, Georgia. There, you can acquire previous tax returns and transcripts, as well as pay your Federal Tax bill; but keep in mind that exact change is required. On the right is the Macon City Auditorium and it’s famed copper dome, which is claimed by many locals to be the largest in the world.

Downtown Macon, Georgia

2012: Spring is here and that means the start of baseball season for the Chicago Cubs. A new season means another chance to win it all. Will this be the year? With motivated ownership, a newly hired proven General Manager and a revamped line-up, they’ve definitely got a shot (just like everybody else). One thing is for certain, as you can see in the aerial image below, Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, is in game-winning shape!

Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

2013: Baseball isn’t the only sporting event eagerly anticipated by fans. Next year marks the official kick-off (no pun intended) of the countdown to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. These dress-rehearsal matches comprise the FIFA Confederations Cup and are held in 2013 by Brazil, host nation of the 2014 World Cup. The aerial image below shows the Governor Magalhães Pinto Stadium, under construction in preparation for the upcoming 2013 and 2014 matches.

Governor Magalhães Pinto Stadium, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

If you’d like to receive an email notification when the Google Earth and Maps Imagery team updates your favorite areas(s), we’ve got just the tool: The Follow Your World application!

These are only a few examples of the sites that can be seen and discovered in our latest batch of published imagery. Happy exploring!

High Resolution Aerial Updates:
USA: Aberdeen, SD; Amarillo, TX; Billings, MT; Bismark, ND; Cape Cod, MA; Chester, SC; Chicago, IL; Clemson, SC; Columbia, SC; Glasgow, MT; Havre, MT; Jamestown, ND; Lake of the Ozarks, MO; Long Island, NY; Macon, GA; Pierre, SD; Red Lake, MN; Sheridan, WY; Ulysses, KS; Wenatchee, WA

Avignon, France; Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Mar del Plata, Argentina

Countries/regions receiving high resolution satellite updates:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Cook Islands, Croatia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Europa Island, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Fiji, Macedonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

These updates are now available in both Google Maps and Google Earth. For a complete picture of where we updated imagery, download this KML for viewing in Google Earth.


Earlier this year we improved the uploader tool in Panoramio to make the process faster and more intuitive. Since then, members of the Panoramio photo-sharing community have been simply dragging and dropping their photos to the locations where they were taken, and working together to create a world map of beautiful images.

Today, we’re announcing some improvements to help you even more easily geo-tag your photos in Panoramio. You can now snap your photos to a place on the map. When searching for your photo location, you’ll see a list of suggested places where your photo may have been taken, and you can click “Snap to this place” to select the right location. We’ve also added the ability for users to indicate that a photo was taken indoors. These additional details about where a photo was taken provide all users with more useful information and context.

If you’re not familiar with Panoramio and how it works, get a sense for this powerful user tool by checking out the brief video below. Panoramio is a community site for photos of various places, with the option to share and explore the photos in Google Maps and Google Earth.

Enjoy the improved features in Panoramio and we look forward to seeing more of your photos.


Here at Google we publish a lot of imagery, most of which comes from the satellite and aerial imagery providers with whom we partner. Last week we published something a bit different: images collected from balloons and kites! The resolution is amazing, and it’s something that just about anyone can do themselves.

Public Laboratory image of Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA (July 2011) in Google Earth

Our friends at The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science have been working hard to make imagery collection easy, cheap and accessible. Their grassroots mapping work is based on the idea that citizens anywhere should be able to explore the environment in and around their communities, by collecting their own imagery and other data, and to do it in a way that is useful for scientific and social purposes.

The Public Laboratory has developed an open source balloon mapping toolkit that allows anyone with an inexpensive digital point and shoot camera, and about $100 of other parts (balloon, helium, line, soda bottle, etc.) to take photos of the ground around them. They also provide a web-based tool called MapKnitter for aligning the photos into a georeferenced image that can be used in Google Earth and other digital mapping tools.

Public Laboratory image of WhereCamp, Stanford University (April 2011) in Google Earth

We’ve imported many of the images from the Public Laboratory’s archives into Google Earth’s historical imagery database. To help you find them, download this KML file, open it in Google Earth (make sure you’re using the latest version), and fly to the image locations in space and time. Have fun exploring this unique imagery!


Educators all over the world have used Google's geo products to help students conceptualize, visualize, share and communicate information about the world around them.

This summer, we will host two Google Geo Teachers Institutes: June 13 and 14, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland and June 20 and 21, 2012 in London, England. Both events will be held at the local Google office.

This two-day event is a free professional development experience designed to help educators get the most from Google's geography-related products and technologies. Participants receive hands-on experience and learn best practices and tips for using Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google SketchUp, including a focus on features like Ocean, Mars, Moon and Sky in Google Earth.

Attendees will also learn about innovative instructional strategies, theoretical foundations, and receive resources to share with colleagues. Speakers will share real life examples of how they are using these tools in their classrooms across all subjects. We hope this event will empower educators to bring the world's geographic information to students in a compelling, fresh, and fun way.

Educators at the 2011 Google Teachers Institute

If you are interested in joining us, please complete this application by April 30, 2012. We will send out invitations based on availability by May 11, 2012. Even if you can’t make it to this event, we have many online resources available on the Google Earth for Educators and SketchUp for Education websites. Check back often for updates!


Following the royal wedding in 2011, the eyes of the world will again be on London as we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. As part of her Jubilee celebrations, The Queen will take part in a procession along some of London’s most famous landmarks. We’ve created a 3D aerial view video of the procession route, providing a virtual tour of the landmarks that The Queen will pass.

The procession starts with a view of New Palace Yard, leading up through Whitehall, past the Cenotaph war memorial, a focal point for Remembrance Sunday. It then moves on to pass Downing Street, home of the British Prime Minister and around Trafalgar Square. The route then goes through Admiralty Arch before heading up the Mall and ending at Buckingham Palace.

The summer of 2012 is set to draw in millions of visitors to the UK. With this massive influx of people unfamiliar with the area, many would need to find their bearings. Both Google Earth and Google Maps can help people to plan their trips and learn about the places they are visiting, whether they’re on a mobile or a desktop computer. In addition to the Diamond Jubilee procession route, you can view thousands of buildings, landmarks and areas across London with the 3D buildings feature in Google Earth.

To explore London landmarks in Google Earth, check the 3D buildings box in the left-hand panel under “Layers,” then type “London” in the search bar on the top left and use the navigation controls in the upper right to zoom in, spin around and tilt the view. Alternatively, you can go to Earth View on Google Maps in your browser.

Whether you’re hoping to catch a real glimpse of The Queen celebrating 60 years on the throne from one of London’s vantage points, or you’re viewing this on a television, we know that seeing the procession route in 3D will bring the Diamond Jubilee to life.

This video and further information about the Diamond Jubilee is available on the official website.


One hundred years ago, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and sank, along with three-quarters of the 2,200 passengers and the entire crew on board. It was her maiden voyage from England to New York City and has gone down in history as one of the deadliest maritime tragedies.

The story of the Titanic has remained with us through the decades. It has inspired books and movies and is memorialized around the world in museums and monuments. Now, despite its depth on the sea floor, you can explore this ill-fated ship from the comfort of your home using Google Earth.

Using imagery from National Geographic, we’ve created an updated 3D model of the Titanic. Explore different parts of the ship, from prow to stern by simply searching for “Titanic” in the Google Earth search box.

3D model of the RMS Titanic, as seen in Google Earth

You can also join a guided expedition by diving into the new Titanic KML tour along featured in our Earth Gallery. This tour showcases images and video of the Titanic provided by NOAA and the National Geographic. Watch the video below to dive down to the Titanic in Google Earth, written in collaboration with Jim Delgado, Director of Maritime Heritage with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

Explore more stunning photos of the shipwreck taken by NOAA in Panoramio. From vestiges of passengers long gone to its famous bridge, the legacy of the Titanic continues to grow a century after her fateful encounter.


(Cross-posted on the Google Geo Developers blog)

Map of the Week: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with Google Maps API
Why we like it: This Google Maps API implementation really speaks to the versatility of the API and breadth of the Google Maps API developer ecosystem! From small personal projects to exciting start-ups and high-performance cars, the Google Maps API can be used by everyone.

As you would expect, this top of the line Mercedes-Benz is loaded with all the bells and whistles. The vehicle’s integrated navigation system will be enhanced in certain regions by a fully functional JavaScript Maps API v3 implementation using Styled Maps, Google Places API, Places Autocomplete API, traffic layer, and the Panoramio layer as an Android App for the AMG Performance Media option. This provides the user with a familiar Google Maps interface in addition to the onboard maps from the navigation system.

(Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Gullwing Coupe at the O’Reilly Where Conference - April 2012)

For night time driving the SLS AMG takes advantage of Styled Maps to create a map that’s easier to view in low-light situations and does not impede a driver’s night vision.

Chances are, if you’re driving this around all day, you’re going to get very hungry. That’s where the Places API integration with Places Autocomplete API comes in handy. Drivers can enter in what they’re looking for it, be it Thai food or pizza and the vehicle will return a list of nearby places along with address, distance, and rating.

Once the Places API has helped you decide what to eat and where you need to go, you can view the destination in Google Street View. In the image below, the system is displaying Street View imagery directly in front of the hotel in San Francisco where the vehicle was located for the 2012 O’Reilly Where Conference. From there you can enter directions that are displayed on a Google Map along with the option to display current traffic.

The engineers at Daimler have done an amazing job of taking Google Maps and combining it with one of the most-loved automobiles. There are many different types of developers in the Google Maps API ecosystem and great implementations like this remind us that the possibilities are almost endless!


When we announced the availability of indoor maps for Android last November, we also introduced Google Maps Floor Plans as a tool for business owners to upload the floor plans for their venue and have them appear in Google Maps for Android. Today we’re releasing the Google Maps Floor Plan Marker app, which enables those who’ve uploaded floor plans to improve the indoor location accuracy their visitors experience when using indoor maps within their venue. The app is available for people in the United States through Google Play.

If you’ve uploaded a floor plan through the Google Maps Floor Plans tool, once you install the Google Maps Floor Plan Marker app, you’ll be guided through the process of walking around the entire surface area of your place of interest. Using the app, you collect data from sources such as GPS, cell tower, and publicly broadcast WiFi information that can help us make the My Location feature’s familiar “blue dot” icon accessible for Android users when they’re inside the venue. The time it takes to complete this process depends on the size of the venue, but you can pause and resume a marking task at any time if you want to take breaks.

The information you choose to submit will ultimately help visitors and customers more quickly and easily orient themselves, see where they are and what’s around them. Customers will even be able to see which floor they’re on in buildings with multiple floors, and the map will automatically update to the right floor if they go up or down a level!

To get started, download the Google Maps Floor Plan Marker app from Google Play. The app is currently only available in English for people in United States.


Spring is finally here and with it, the beginning of the 2012 baseball season! For die hard fans, this means the beginning of another fabulous year of Cracker Jacks and days at the ballpark.

To celebrate the start of the 2012 season of America’s pastime, we’ve created a special Google Earth video featuring aerial imagery and 3D models of the country’s most legendary stadiums. Fly to Fenway in Boston, soar over Chicago’s Wrigley Field and check out San Francisco Bay and AT&T Park, all from a bird’s eye view. What a way to take a virtual journey with your team as they travel across the country!

For the lucky fans that get to attend their favorite team’s games in person, we’ve put together a few tips to make the most of each match-up. Batter up!

Our first tip aims to keep you warm and dry on game day. Nothing ruins a day at the park like unexpected weather. Make sure you dress appropriately for the game and don’t miss a minute of the action. On Google Maps, just select the weather layer from the drop down in the upper right hand corner of the map and zoom to specific cities to see the current and expected conditions.

The weather layer in Google Maps shows that it’s going to be a pretty chilly day at AT&T Park.

Now that you’ve got your jacket packed, where to go pre-game for a light snack? Enter a ballpark or stadium name in Google Maps and use the “Search Nearby” feature to find sports bars, hotels, public transportation stops and more in the same neighborhood. If you are already at the ballpark, use the same feature on Google Maps for mobile and get directions on the go.

Are you planning on meeting friends at the game? Scope out the area around the ballpark with Street View in Google Maps to pick a spot to meet up before finding your seats (and maybe a couple of hot dogs along the way).

Street View of At&T Park in San Francisco

For many fans, this might be the year to do that baseball road trip you’ve always talked about. Create a Custom Map with your itinerary and mark the surrounding restaurants or local sites you visit along the way. Share your map with friends and family and add text, videos and photos to create an archive of your travels to enjoy during the off-season and for years to come.

We hope you find these tips useful on opening day and beyond. Best of luck to each and every team. Play ball!


As a continuation of our global efforts to expand Street View to the world’s most interesting and unique places, we’re pleased to announce a major expansion of the Google Art Project.

Since we introduced the Art Project last year, curators, artists and viewers from all over the globe have offered exciting ideas about how to enhance the experience of collecting, sharing and discovering art. Institutions worldwide asked to join the project, urging us to increase the diversity of artworks displayed. We listened.

Our global team has worked hard to expand the project to many more museums spanning the globe. Today, the Art Project includes over 30,000 high resolution artworks. Using a combination of various Google technologies and expert information provided by our partners, we have created a unique online art experience. Users can explore a wide range of artworks at brushstroke level detail, take a virtual tour of a museum and even build their own collections to share. And high resolution Street View images now cover 51 of our partner locations, with more on the way.

A wide range of institutions, large and small, traditional art museums as well as less traditional settings for great art, are represented in the expanded Art Project. Click here and take a look at the White House in Washington D.C. Explore the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. Continue the journey in India, exploring the Santiniketan Triptych in the halls of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi.

White House: Portrait of John F. Kennedy by Aaron Shikler:  View Street View

Here are a few other new things in the expanded Art Project that you might enjoy:
  • Street View images are now displayed in higher resolution and better dynamic range than the original version and include a greater number of images for improved navigation. Our specially designed Street View ‘Trolley’ took 360 degree images of the interior of selected galleries which were then stitched together. The result is a truly immersive experience for art lovers and art newbies alike. The gallery interiors can also be explored directly from within Street View in Google Maps.
  • In addition to Street View, more than 30,000 artworks are featured in high resolution. Some have been photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution or ‘gigapixel’ photo capturing technology, enabling the viewer to study details of the brushwork and patina beyond that possible with the naked eye.
  • Each museum also features annotations that link you from Street View directly into the high resolution imagery for the artwork. So now as you navigate your favorite collections you can jump in to a specific piece and learn more about it and the artist. In total we have more than 4000 links of paintings, statues and artifacts to be explored.
The Art Project illustrates Google’s commitment to bringing culture online and making it accessible the widest possible audience. Under the auspices of the Google Cultural Institute, we’re producing high resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls, digitizing the archives of famous figures such as Nelson Mandela, and creating 3D models of 18th century French cities.

Together with the fantastic input from our partners from around the world, we’re delighted to have created a convenient, fun way to interact with art - a platform that we hope appeals to everyone.

To take a look visit the Art Project or the Street View gallery.

Posted by


Ahead of a busy summer in London, we are bringing real time service alerts for the London Underground to Google Maps. We’ll let you know of any disruptions on the Underground that are happening at the time you need them most. To see these alerts, click on a station in a timetable or in the public transport directions results.

Last summer we announced live transit updates, providing travelers with up-to-date information when planning their trips. We are excited about adding real time alerts for the 1 billion passengers that use the Underground every year.

In addition to the service alerts in real time, we’ve included planned engineering works for the weekends in our journey planner as well. When planning a trip for the coming weekend, we will show you the relevant subway alerts as part of the directions results. You can plan a trip for the weekend by changing the departure time in the ‘Get directions’ tab. Should there be planned engineering works for your route, you won’t run into any surprises on the day of travel.

As usual, this information is available on for desktop and mobile, but also on Google Maps for Android. So even when you’re on the go, you’ll always be informed of the latest status of the Underground. Just tap on a station to see if there are any alerts active, or get directions to your destination to see if an alert affects your travels.


Public transport directions in Britain are available for all national train routes, London Underground, Overground, DLR and bus routes, and many local bus routes.

Whether you call London home or you’re one of the expected 31 million tourists visiting the city this year, we know that the addition of service alerts to Google Maps will make your travels across the city easier, faster and more convenient.


Have you ever been stuck in traffic during the heavy morning commute, or found yourself late for dinner plans because you left work right in the middle of the Friday night traffic? In addition to using Google Maps to find alternate routes and reach your destination faster, you may have also found the feature that shows typical traffic patterns on highways to be useful. Knowing the usual highway conditions during certain times of the day, like rush hour, can help you avoid traffic. And if you plan to avoid these highways, it’s also helpful to know the typical traffic patterns on the surrounding arterial roads as well.

Starting today, if you’re planning a trip for which you anticipate traffic, you can find out what typical traffic is like on these arterial roads, rather than just on highways. Simply type in your starting and ending points to get directions in Google Maps, enable the traffic layer on the upper right hand side of the viewport, and then click “change” in the legend to switch from live traffic to Typical Traffic for these roads.

Click traffic layer and then select day and time

You can now access this data for important arterials in cities around the world to help you get where you want to go, and on time! To illustrate the improved comprehensiveness of the traffic data now available, below are the before and after traffic screenshots for London:

London traffic for both highways and major roads

And of course, you can always help your fellow drivers and improve traffic data about road conditions and speeds by turning on the My Location feature on Google Maps for Android.

We wish you safe and happy driving!


Cross-posted from the SketchUp Blog

The 212 teams that participated in this year’s Google Model Your Town Competition produced thousands of models, the vast majority of which were jaw-droppingly, heart-stoppingly, mind-bogglingly gorgeous. Narrowing down the field to six finalists was a gut wrenching affair, but it had to be done. In alphabetical order, the finalist teams for 2012 are:

Evansville, Indiana, United States | Evansville’s collection of models
Modeler: Randall Crane

Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain | Getaria’s collection of models
Modelers: Josetxo Perez Fernandez, Pedro Domecq Aguirre

Leominster, Herefordshire, United Kingdom | Leominster’s collection of models
Modeler: Tom Harvey

Lowell, Massachusetts, United States | Lowell’s collection of models
Modeler: Beryl Reid

Toruń, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland | Toruń’s collection of models
Modelers: Arkadiusz Pawlowski, Górniak Grzegorz

Zielona Góra, Lubuskie, Poland | Zielona Góra’s collection of models
Modeler: Tomasz Szular

This video provides an aerial, musical tour of each of the six finalists’ models in situ. Make some popcorn and enjoy.

It’s voting time!

It’s up to you (and the rest of the world) to pick an overall winner. We’ve created separate one-minute video tours for each town, as well as KML files that you can download to see the models in Google Earth. Peruse the entries, then vote for your favorite. You have until May 1st, 2012 to cast your ballot.

Congrats and thanks to everyone who entered—this year’s models were truly amazing.

Posted by Allyson McDuffie, Google SketchUp Team