Google has just announced on the Google Lat-Long blog that Google Maps has a really cool new ability to create and modify driving directions. You can now simply click the map with your right mouse button to pick your starting and ending points for driving directions. Then, you can simply click on a point on the route to re-route to a different path (say you want to take the coastal route, or want to avoid going over a traffic jam). It’s all very simple, point and click. And, read below for a tip on how to use the results in Google Earth. Check out this video by the Google Maps team about the new feature:
Check out this example of a route with current live traffic in New York:
Simply click on the blue route between the two end points and drag it to a new route. This is really slick!
I can hardly wait to see this done in Google Earth. Given all the new features and integration of KML with Google Maps, I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before we see a Google Earth plug-in for our browsers so we can see these features working in both 3D as well as the 2D implementation in Google Maps. Or, maybe the new click and drag functionality will be in the next beta of GE 4.1 (or maybe they will call it 4.2). Until then Google Maps’ new driving directions will be more convenient. But, you can output the resulting driving directions straight into Google Earth. Want to know how?
Taking your directions from Google Maps to Google Earth:
[UPDATE: there appears to be a bug – sometimes this trick will not show the entire route in Google Earth, Google is looking into it.]
- Get your driving directions the way you want in Google Maps
- Click on the “Link to this page” in the upper right of Google Maps. You should get a little window with a long URL.
- Click the URL with the mouse and move the cursor to the right end (you should see something like “&z=11” at the end – which is the zoom level).
- Simply append “&output=kml” to the end of the URL
- Select the entire URL and copy it to your paste buffer (CTRL-C for example)
- Then paste it into your browser’s location URL pane at the top (or you can click and drag the selected link to the location pane). Then hit ENTER. This should load up the directions in Google Earth! You won’t be able to click and drag to change the directions, but you can view them in 3D.
- Once its loaded in Google Earth, hit the “Play” button below the Places pane – or select the “Tools->Play Tour” menu option. This will give you a cool flying 3D tour of the driving directions.