BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Thursday March 19 2009 16:28 GMT

Google launches 3D UK street maps

Birmingham, as seen on Google Street View

By now most people have got used to going online to find places to go, and to get directions how to get there.

Now another piece of technology has hit the UK, and it could make finding your way round even easier.

It's called Street View, and is a kind of 3D map, made up of thousands of photos that you can move around.

The internet search company Google is behind Street View, and at the moment more than 20,000 miles of streets in 25 cities across the UK can be studied.

The UK is one of the later major countries to get the Street View treatment, and surprise, surprise it's partly because of our weather.

UK cities on Street View
A screengrab of Google Street View
England - Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Oxford, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Southampton, York
Scotland - Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow
Northern Ireland - Belfast
Wales - Cardiff, Swansea
Google used cars with special cameras to make the Street View maps, but when they were filming in the UK the weather was bad so it took longer to get good pictures.

Not everyone thinks Street View is a good idea - some say it invades people's private lives as it shows close-up pictures of houses and cars.

Where's Wally?

If you do happen to take a look at Street View keep your eyes open for a familiar face - Wally from Where's Wally? is hidden in the maps somewhere.