London goes 3D

Google has finally added 3D imagery to London, and it appears they’ve done a great job with it. As with other recent cities, it appears that their techniques for creating this imagery continue to improve and London seems to be the best-looking 3D city we’ve seen so far!

In particular, streets are smoother than many others we’ve seen, and buildings tend to have fewer random artifacts sticking out of them. It’s imperfect, but improving very quickly. As I’ve mentioned before, I hope that Google eventually uses street view imagery to improve it further, but this is certainly another step in the right direction.

To try it for yourself, you can grab this KML file to fly to London, and just make sure you have the “3D Buildings” layer turned on.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. MapMaker says:

    Also today 18 July 2014 – New Google Earth Imagery!

  2. Google seems to roll these out in waves. So far, the only other new 3D I’ve spotted is in Lansing, Mi, which happens to be my home town. It is improving, but the Capitol Dome and the lugnut perched on a smokestack (across the street from the stadium of the minor-league Lansing Lugnuts) didn’t come out too well. I’ve been waiting to see how they’d handle MSU’s Broad Art Museum, which actually looks like some of the mistakes their 3D process produces, and it was apparently still under construction when the source imagery was produced. They didn’t do too bad on it, but the structure wasn’t complete. That brings up another issue. The building opened to the public a couple of years ago, so this image is hardly new. How often are they going to update these? It’s lot more complicated than just updating a satellite image. They also don’t show a date for the imagery.

    As far as work yet remaining, Wisconsin’s three largest cities, Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay still haven’t gone 3D, but several smaller ones have. In Michigan, Parts of suburban Detroit, Ann Arbor, Jackson and Saginaw are among the larger cities still waiting. Most of the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula will probably never be covered, but those southern areas mostly have had 45-deghree imagery for several years, as have the 3 largest Wisconsin cities.

    • Hey, don;t forget there’s the rest of Earth too 🙂

      But try a virtual flight through Tower Bridge in London four some light relief.

  3. Agree about improving quality of 3D imagery, but only central London is covered with a decidedly eccentric and convoluted boundary going no further west than Hyde Park but as far east as the O2 Arena but excluding the Olympic arena, and like London cabbies rarely venturing far south of the Thames. Hopefully coverage will be extended.

  4. The most important now is to add major European cities (tourist destinations) like Berlin, Prague, Vienna or Barcelona.

  5. Hopefully Toronto will join the list soon!

  6. So, yesterday I found an area in Portugal with 3d imagery, today I can’t see them any more, but my settings didn’t change – the most recent images available are also older, from 2012? This was the area: 39°26’36.26″N 9° 7’26.77″W, extending North and South a few kilometers.

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