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Google Maps Just Added A Really Cool Feature


Who would have thought that the “world maps” we often see are usually inaccurate?

Putting the Earth in a flat, rectangular map means there will be a form of compromise.

This is why Google has introduced a new, well-rounded update to Google Maps. When you zoom all the way out, the Earth will no longer be displayed as a flat surface, but as a globe.

This feature allows the map to display the Earth more accurately.

Screenshot: Google Maps


Google Maps emphasised the change on its Twitter feed, stating that “Greenland’s projection is no longer the size of Africa.”

However, this change is only available on the desktop interface; itโ€™s still flat in its mobile app.

Up until now, Google Maps has used Mercator projection. It is a cylindrical projection that displays each point of the planet on a flat surface.

While this largely standardised style makes it easy to print onto maps and preserves the shape of countries and continents, it presents a distorted image of the Earth. Objects around the equator are to scale relative to one another, while objects closer to the poles appear larger than they really are.

One good example of this is the relative sizes of Greenland and Africa. On a Mercator map, Greenland appears larger than Africa but, in reality, Africa is about 14 times larger.

Google used the Mercator projection for Maps because it is good for navigation. A 90-degree left turn on the projection is a 90-degree left turn in real life.

This new 3D globe update gives the map a hybrid approach. It still gives the same turn-by-turn navigation but, when you begin to zoom out, the map will begin to round out gradually.

This means that you can spin around the globe with your mouse and see all the bodies of water and countries in their size and shape.

How cool is that?

This change is recent in a series from the search company. In June, Google redesigned its Explore section to make it easier to find restaurants, and an update earlier this week added oneโ€™s battery life status to location sharing.

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