How To

How to: Measure distances in Google Maps

Elena Santos


Measuring distances on a map is useful when planning trips, but can also be a bit tricky. Luckily Google Maps makes it much easier, especially if you use the distance measurement tool available in the Google Maps Labs area. Here’s a short tutorial on how to use it.

1. Open Google Maps, click the green beaker icon on the top right menu and enable the tool.

2. Once back in Google Maps, click the little ruler icon on the bottom left corner and select your preferred measurement unit. You can choose between the traditional metric or English systems, or if you’re feeling geeky, pick other more original systems like Californian varas (!), nautical miles or even light-years.

3. Click the source location and then your destination and you’ll get the distance between those two points expressed in the measurement unit of your choice.

4. Google Maps expresses the distance in a straight line, which of course isn’t always the most accurate approach. To obtain a more realistic value, simply keep on adding more points to your route, following a given road or train route. Google Maps will automatically calculate the distance between the first point and the last one you create.

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