Saturday, July 16, 2005

Google Map interface now includes a scale!

Since any good map includes a scale, Google Maps is no longer an exception. If you check Google Maps today you'll notice at the bottom left of the map tool, there is now a handy scale to judge distance. For Canadians and other countries using the metric system, it is displayed in kilometres as well as miles!

(Thanks to the good folks at Google Sightseeing and Sightseeing with Google Maps for the tip!)


  1. It's just too bad that you can't drag it around on the map to measure stuff.

  2. Tobin: Not quite because of the curvature of the Earth (though that's indirectly why). It's because they're using a Mercator projection that distorts distances to infinity as you approach the poles. You can pan all the way to the pole (or close to it) and watch the scale bar measure 1 foot when zoomed all the way out.

    As far as moving the map around to measure stuff with the scale bar, that works when you're zoomed in and the scale is relatively consistent across the entire display of the map, but if you're zoomed out to national scale or similar, the scale will be different for different parts of the map and different between where the scale bar is measured and displayed. The scale bar shows the scale at the center of the map, but the scale bar is in the lower left corner. You can see this by zooming to a roughly continental level and panning to the equator. As the equator moves to the center of the display, the scale bar finds its minimum size, as the equator moves away from the center, the scale bar grows.

  3. Scale? What scale? I don't see no stnkin scale!!!

  4. Anonymous11:55 PM

    I don't have a scale w updated maps