MapsGL: Google Maps now using WebGL

By on October 15, 2011
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See 3D buildings now on web based Google Maps.

WebGL is a web 3D graphics standard which was developed mainly by help of Mozilla and Khronos group. Google jumped the bandwagon also by providing support in Chrome and launching lots of WebGL demos for Chrome. But it has not been embraced by the web developers till now. Those who want 3D applications use Unity 3D engine but forget that WebGL is native web language now which doesn’t require any plugin on supported browsers. But now Google is first major company to use it for more than just some tech demos in their Google Maps. This new 3D layers is called: MapsGL which allow you to view 3D translucent buildings on top of web based maps.

3D buildings aren’t the only thing brought by WebGL, but Google has added a lot of animations as you zoom in, shift to street view tilt the map etc. The MapsGL is not openly available right now in Google Labs to be enabled. If you see a “Want to try something new?” in the bottom of your screen then the option is available to you and you can click it to enable the MapsGL feature.

WebGL is supported in latest Firefox and Google Chrome browsers. If you use Safari then you have to enable it first in your browser options. If you are an Opera user, then you will have to shift to Opera 12 alpha version for now. Android maps app has MapsGL support too.


Dad in the day, Gamer by night. Loves everything Geek. By profession an Engineer but my hobby has been Video gaming on PC since 1989.

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