Google 3D Driving Directions Makes Trip Planning More Fun

26 Oct

Bem-vindo à Ipanema!

Ever since the first Model T rolled off Henry Ford’s assembly line, we have been driving around this earth of ours town wondering, “Am I lost? Which way do I go? I could’ve sworn that right turn was coming up…” Travel maps sure did help, as did the local gas station attendant, but now there is a navigation tool available that – in addition to suggesting efficient routes and providing step-by-step directions – allows you to not only determine your course of attack, but also preview the drive in an engaging, movie-like experience.

A few weeks ago, Google released a revolutionary mapping service that takes driving directions into the 3rd dimension. With the Google Earth plug-in, you can get a bird’s eye perspective of your proposed route.  Google’s 3D driving directions leverage data and images from a variety of sources to build real-time videos tracking your proposed route. The video can be paused at any point, so you can stop and explore the local landscape or familiarize yourself with an area from different angles.

I personally discovered this feature, released on September 30, while planning a vacation to Brazil. I used the tool to discover interesting towns and beaches on the drive between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and was amazed at the extent to which every detail – from downtown skyscrapers to offshore coral reefs – were highlighted along the way.

Will Google’s new 3D driving directions guarantee that you’ll never be lost again? Probably not, but it will definitely provide an entertaining, post-recession alternative to the family vacation. Can’t make it out to California for that epic cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway? Here, let me help:


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