New Google Maps Feature – 2.5D Buildings

Google Maps in 2.5D

Google is yet again adding features to Google Maps which bring it closer to Google Earth. In February Google added building outlines to major cities when you zoom in close. Now Google has added 2.5D buildings to some of those cities for Google Maps. You can’t rotate or tilt your view, so it’s 2D. But, the buildings have shaded 3D-like projections from an angle so you get an idea of height and shape of the buildings. See an example by going to this Google Map. Looks like about 35 cities have the buildings in the US, and Tokyo.

By the way, I believe these buildings are directly coming from those old “gray 3D buildings” Google has had in Google Earth since it was released back in June 2005. Now that I think about it, I’m kind of surprised Google didn’t implement this 2.5D version of the buildings in Google Maps sooner. Of course, it probably took a while to create the 2D projections, optimize the imagery, and generate the database for all zoom levels possible for Google Maps. And its not like Google hasn’t been doing lots of other interesting things to the Geo products!
Related: 3D Buildings in Google Earth

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. This was a truly nice visual enhancement. I really like this. I can see it’s not necessary for every view, but it adds just enough of the virtual dimension to add a really interesting perspective. And it remains fully read-able – so, well done Google!

  2. misterscruff says:

    it’d be awesome if they could integrate that feature with online booking. click on a hotel to book a room. click on a stadium to book football tickets. click on a concert hall to book tickets for a gig.

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