Thursday, April 19, 2012

MapsGL on Google Maps

Do you know that Google has released a new feature on their Google Maps? This new feature is the MapsGL extension that allows you to see the map in 3D views. It uses WebGL (Web-based Graphics Library) as the backend to produce wonderful 3D imagineries.

One good thing about WebGL is that most browsers has support this feature and included this into their products, so users don't need to install additional plugins such as Flash Players or JRE or whatsoever.

Some of the MapsGL improvements include:
  • 3D buildings in Map view mode and 45° aerial imagery
  • Smooth transitions between zoom levels and seamless 45° aerial view rotations
  • 'Swoop' quickly from the map view to Street View imagery
Here's the minimum specifications to run MapsGL
  • A WebGL enabled browser:
    • Chrome 14+
    • Firefox 8+
    • Safari 5.1+ if manually enabled
    • To enable WebGL in Safari:
      • Open the Safari menu and select Preferences.
      • Click the Advanced tab in the Preferences window.
      • At the bottom of the window, check the Show Develop menu in menu bar checkbox.
      • Open the Develop menu in the menu bar and select Enable WebGL.
  • OS
    • Mac OS Snow Leopard 10.6+, Lion 10.7+
    • Windows Vista or 7
    • Linux
  • Video Card Hardware
    • GPU with Direct X 9.0c recommended (Shader Model 3.0+)
    • For Windows machines, must have drivers published later than January 1, 2009.
    • Some low-end integrated GPUs (like the Intel GMA 3100 and 3150) are not compatible
  • Note that some users have reported having issues with the Intel HD 3000 video card.
If the option to switch to MapsGL is not enabled, go to http://maps.google.com/?vector=1

Here's a video showing Google Maps with MapsGL enabled and disabled