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Google Technology

3D Helicopter View Added To Google Maps 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the merging-the-flight-sims-and-directions dept.
Zothecula writes "Those not content with getting a 2D top-down or 360-degree street level view of a planned route using Google Maps can now enjoy a virtual flight over the route thanks to Google adding a new Helicopter View. The new feature, which currently only works in a full browser and requires the Google Earth plugin, lets users see 3D view, and should come in particularly handy for walkers or bike riders looking for a more intuitive view of potentially tiring hills."
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3D Helicopter View Added To Google Maps

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  • Not that new. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The_mad_linguist (1019680) on Monday October 03, 2011 @10:00PM (#37595376)

    Google Earth has had a flight simulator built in for years now. The difference between normal google Earth, a F-16 in Google Earth and a helicopter in Google Earth isn't that noteworthy.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      I don't think you understand what helicopter view is.

      • by rwa2 (4391) *

        Not that I've tried this "new" helicopter view, but Google Earth had that kind of navigation track animation since the Keyhole days. I think the only news is that they've tied that feature into maps.google.com using a plugin.

        • Agreed. I used this very thing in keyhole to demo the agenda we had for a gathering a long time ago. It was cool to allow people to see what parts of the city we were going to. Flying up and around allowed them to see that.
        • by Sockatume (732728)

          This view is actually a lot better than the old path-following, which wasn't sufficiently damped for routes involving a lot of right-angle turns (the camera would swing nauseatingly) that you tend to get with road directions. It's a tool for a specific purpose (an overview fly-by of your route). Regardless, it's not a flight sim.

  • so I can drop buckets of water on fire with a nice jerry martin 11khz WAV soundtrack, land my chopper and walk my spazzy pilot across the earth.
  • Modern Man (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Heaven forbid that you would get tired.

  • currently only works in a full browser and requires the Google Earth plugin

    Any ideas on what this means? I read both articles, but they didn't seem to mention what this "full browser" requirement is.

    • by dicobalt (1536225)
      Clearly a full browser is a browser that is full as opposed to one that is only partially full.
      • by smitty97 (995791)

        I'm a pessimist, you insensitive clod! A full browser is completely devoid of empty.

      • I don't think of it as partially full. I think of it as full, but with a safety margin in case of overfilling.
    • by gregrah (1605707)
      Just guessing, but maybe by full they mean "not a mobile browser"?
    • by Cyko_01 (1092499)
      Here are the results of my own testing:

      Works In:
      firefox 7
      google chrome
      IE8

      Does Not Work In:
      safari 5.1 (windows)
      Opera 11.51
      • by Cyko_01 (1092499) on Monday October 03, 2011 @10:51PM (#37595616) Homepage
        Netscape navigator 9.0.0.6 (I have it installed just for laughs) shows the 3D button but the plugin shows some errors and crashes the browser if you try it anyways.
        • by syousef (465911)

          Netscape navigator 9.0.0.6 (I have it installed just for laughs) shows the 3D button but the plugin shows some errors and crashes the browser if you try it anyways.

          You're on the wrong site. Saddism is over there....oh wait...whaaa?

          • Netscape navigator 9.0.0.6 (I have it installed just for laughs) shows the 3D button but the plugin shows some errors and crashes the browser if you try it anyways.

            You're on the wrong site. Saddism is over there....oh wait...whaaa?

            And i thought i was the only one that did that, got Mosiac and Lynx too? Been going thru stuff and got a couple of the last netscape (whatever) was last version.

            But back on topic this really reminds me of Choplifter and Rescue Raiders :P

            • by Cyko_01 (1092499)
              Netscape is actually a surprisingly capable browser! It actually scores better on acid3 then firefox 2.0.0.12, opera 9.26 and most surprisingly IE7 or IE8, with a score of 58/100
      • by OzPeter (195038)

        Doesn't seem to work on Safari 5.1 (Snow Leopard) either.

      • by mobets (101759)

        Crashed for me in Firefox 7.01.

    • by daid303 (843777)

      Guess: not a mobile browser.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    WebGL (OpenGL ES) is perfectly capable of this and requires no plug-in.

    P.S.: Yes, XHTML. Because I assume they’re professionals that require proper XML error checking of their code. Plain HTML5 is for those who think they are "pro" because they read a book about HTML in the .com bubble era.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe because the Earth plugin existed before HTML5 implementations? Maybe because IE doesn't support WebGL? Maybe because *most other browsers* don't enable WebGL by default? Maybe because WebGL support is experimental?

  • by Psion (2244) on Monday October 03, 2011 @11:03PM (#37595692)
    Unfortunately, the plugin [google.com] only supportes Mac and Windows. C'mon, Google!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      3D is hard to do on Linux... I should know, I'm a cross platform game programmer.

      I mean, it's not like you freetards have created a standard Open Graphics Library, and even if you did it's not like Firefox or Google would be using such a thing, especially not on OSX -- I mean, we know how they all hate open standards and free software. Google's sKetchup 3D editor doesn't run on Loonix or support .OBJ or .3DS either... wait, it does if you pay for it... Oh, and OpenGL does exist... and they're using it on

      • by daid303 (843777)

        OpenGL works, it works great, it works wonderfully! (I hobby program games, not that I'm any good at it)

        But, there are problems with OpenGL in the linux world, if it works then it's great. If you driver works that is. If I try 3D on this machine then I get random X.Org crashes and artifacts. It's just some simple intel videocard with minimal 3D options, but I don't think windows is plagued by the same problems.

      • [...] even if you did it's not like Firefox or Google would be using such a thing, especially not on OSX --

        You were +1 insightful until you said that OSX is Linux. Now you're -1 offtopic.

    • by alienzed (732782)
      and during the Year of the Linux Desktop. What a shame.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @02:08AM (#37596350) Homepage

    Google Earth is really a standalone Windows application. [google.com] (Remember those?) Google didn't develop it; it was from a company called Keyhole, which sold it as a service for years before Google bought them out. I had a Keyhole account back in 2003. NVidia had a promotional deal; it was cheaper with an NVidia card.

    You could fly along a route in Keyhole, so a "helicopter view" isn't exactly new.

  • http://maps.nokia.com/ [nokia.com]

    Note that this also only supports a limited set of browsers/OSes:

    "
    Check out the list of compatible browsers
    Sorry, but for now, 3D Maps only supports the following browsers on Windows and Mac OS:
    Internet Explorer 7+
    Firefox 3.5+
    Chrome
    Safari 5+
    "

    and then there's Baidu which has a nifty model-based 3D view - I forget how to get that going now (something off www.baidu.com, probably), but it's quite impressive.

    • by cpscotti (1032676)
      You mean this one: http://maps.nokia.com/3D/ ?
      Btw, it's way better than this bastardized "google earth inside the browser".
      Nothing new here..
      • by dwater (72834)

        yes, sorry - I had assumed people might notice the '3D' button on the top right.

        I tried it once on Microsoft OS, and it seemed to work really well. I guess this embarrased them into releasing what they have...though I've not tried it, so I don't really know.

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