On Tuesday, Google released a new feature to Google Maps in a small update that Firefighters might find extremely useful. So what’s this great new feature?
Drumroll please….The ability to measure the explicit distance between two or more points.
I know what you’re thinking, “they already have that functionality!” You would be partially correct.
For years, Google Maps would give you the distance from one location to another via established roadways. By simply asking Google for directions from say Washington, DC to Baltimore, MD, it would conveniently give you several route options, distance in miles, and approximate travel time (either by driving, mass transit or walking). Very cool feature for sure, but they’ve just stepped up their game.
What if you wanted to measure the distance between Washington D.C. and Baltimore, MD, but this time you want your route to travel over the river, through the woods to grandmother’s house? Now you can!. The new updated feature to Google Maps now makes it possible to measure the distance between two, or more, points even if there are no viable driving or walking paths.
So how can Firefighters use this new feature? Pre-planning, Map Building and Training for starters. We will break these down specifically in an upcoming post, but wanted to get you started down the road of playing with the new added feature.
So how do you use it? Go to http://maps.google.com and search for any map, or location of your choosing. Right click on any point within your map and select “Measure Distance” from the drop-down. Then select another point on the map to create a path. You can select additional points to continue measuring distance between points. See the full instructions here.
You can view the total distance between points in a box located below the maps search bar in the upper left corner of the screen. The distance between points can also be seen on the path itself.
Are you sure that 200′ crosslay will make it through that court yard? Will the 800′ of supply line make it down that rural driveway? How many feet away is that standpipe connection from the street? Now you can figure it out. Get out there and start measuring.
The feature is currently limited to the desktop version of Google Maps and there are not yet specifics on when/if it will be added to mobile versions. While waiting, you may be interested in a few third party applications which allow for this functionality on your mobile devices. Here are just a few free options:
Tell us how you’ll use this new Google Maps feature, let us know in the comments.