3D Tours Of Popular Landmarks From Google Maps

On Wednesday Google added a new feature to Google Maps that allows users to view 3D photo tours of more than 15,000 popular landmarks from around the world.

Tours include famous attractions such as Central Park in New York, the Half Dome and Yosemite National Park, the Queen's residence, Buckingham Palace in London, the Trevi Fountain in Rome, as well as many others.

Users should search Google Maps for their desired landmark, and results in the left hand side of the screen will show whether a photo tour is available for that particular attraction.

To view the 3D tour, users will need to switch on Google Map's WebGL feature, which will bring 3D graphics to the web browser, without needing to install additional software.

Steve Seitz, Software Engineer for Google Maps explains in the Google blog, "To produce these photo tours, we use advanced computer vision techniques to create a 3D experience from public, user-contributed Picasa and Panaromio photos…From the photos, our system derives the 3D shape of each landmark and computes the location and orientation of each photo. Google Maps then selects a path through the best images, and adds 3D transitions to seamlessly guide you from photo to photo as if you're literally flying around the landmark and viewing it from different perspectives."