Monday, August 3, 2009

Google Flash Map goes 3D

Google engineers have just added "perspective" to Flash version of Google Map. Maybe it is not entirely 3D capability, as terrain height is not depicted, but the new functionality enables users to "flip" the map and view it in other than North-South orientation. Google keeps map navigation tools consistent across all platforms (ie. Javascript, Flash, Google Earth and Earth browser plug-in versions) so, if you used one, you will also be familiar with the others, although there are obvious differences in the core functionality of each version.

Another interesting feature of Flash map is smooth, continuous zoom. The map is still constructed from small image tiles so it is not as smooth as can be achieved with real vector data but the effect is reasonably good, especially for areas which have been visited previously and individual tile images are cached on user end. Try holding down the zoom plus (+) or minus (-) buttons to test the new smooth continuous zoom for yourself.

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