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Google Earth's 3D imagery now available on iPad, iPhone

July 26, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • Google Earth's 3D imagery, like this look at downtown Los Angeles, is now available for some Apple devices.
Google Earth's 3D imagery, like this look at downtown Los Angeles,… (Google Earth )

Google Earth's 3D imagery is now available for the iDevices. Or at least some of them. If you have an iPad 2, an iPhone 4S or the latest iPod touch, then you can enjoy swooping virtually through detailed 3D landscapes, like the one of downtown Los Angeles pictured above.

Android users have been able to use this feature since late June, but the 3D maps were just made available to Apple users on Thursday.

To create the maps, Google uses chartered planes that snap aerial images of every street and structure in major cities from different angles, The Times reported in early June. 

So far, about a dozen cities have received the Google Earth 3D map treatment, including Boulder, Colo.; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; the San Francisco Bay Area; and Santa Cruz. Rome is the only city on the list that is not in the United States.

Google plans to keep building and releasing 3D imagery for new cities, and by the end of the year, the company hopes to have covered metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people, it wrote in a blog post about Thursday's release of 3D imagery for Apple devices. 

Apple users can also access a "tour guide" feature that suggests interesting places to poke on Google Earth.

To access these tours, just pull up the tab at the bottom of the screen and open tour guide. Choose a place you'd like to visit and Google will "fly" you there. Bits of Wikipedia trivia will provide additional information and context about the place you are virtually visiting. 

The tour guide is available for all iOS devices running iOS 4.2 and newer.

One bummer? The 3D maps are not available on desktops. At least, not yet.

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