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Google recreates London in stunning 3D

James Temperton
17 Jul 2014
Palace of Westminster
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New 45-degree aerial imagery has allowed Google to recreate the entire of London in 3D

Ever wished you could soar through the sky like one of London's majestic pigeons? Thanks to Google, that dream is now a reality with the launch of a full 3D version of the city on Google Maps and Google Earth.

The virtual reconstruction of London uses 45-degree aerial imagery to recreate the entire urban sprawl in pin-point accurate 3D. Every single building in the city is recreated, with trees and other paraphernalia also lovingly crafted in Google's model city.

All the famous landmarks are present including Big Ben, the Shard, St Paul's Cathedral and the London Eye. The 3D maps are available on both Google Maps and Google Earth, with the buildings 'popping up' once a user zooms in far enough. Users can pan, zoom and tilt around the 3D reconstruction of London to get a true bird's-eye view.

Dual core Android phones and tablets running Android 2.3 or later support maps in 3D, as do the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S and later. Google said the 3D maps provided a "more accurate and realistic experience" of London.

London is the fifth city in the UK to get the 3D treatment after Birmingham, Leeds, Reading and Stoke on Trent already being snapped. Google has been busy mapping the world in 3D since 2012 using an automatically generated mesh to work out the shape of each structure.

Before then the company relied on user-generated 3D models of buildings, something that has been phased out since the introduction of automated technology. Cities around the world from Adelaide to Zaragoza have now been lovingly recreated in 3D using 45-degree aerial imagery.

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