Google Earth recently relaunched with a host of new features to help people explore the world in even more detail without ever having to leave the air-conditioned comforts of their homes.
One of the most fascinating new features is known as Voyager and it allows people to “experience interactive stories from around the world.” Anyone can now take guided, interactive tours of famous cities, cultural landmarks, and lost civilizations. These tours have been curated by entities such as BBC Earth, DigitalGlobe, and The Ocean Agency.
Two tours, specifically, will be of interest to anyone with a passion for architecture: Frank Gehry Buildings and Architecture by Zaha Hadid.
Frank Gehry Buildings showcases eight of the architect’s designs from around the world such as the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, Dancing House in Prague Czech Republic, and Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle Wash. Each building comes with a short blurb explaining the building’s main function.
Frank Gehry's Dancing House. Courtesy Google Earth.
Architecture by Zaha Hadid features six of the late architect’s buildings such as the London Aquatics Center, the Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruch Austria, and Havenhuis in Antwerp, Belgium.
As one moves from building to building, the map zooms out, moves over the globe to the next landmark’s location, and then zooms back in. Once at the site, one is free to move around and zoom in and out as one pleases, or allow Google Earth to automatically pan slowly around the building. Building’s can be viewed in either 2D or 3D. Each building can be explored in Street View, as well.
Voyager allows people to view these often times very familiar structures in a more macro context. Instead of the professional pictures everyone has come to associate with a building like Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall or Hadid’s MAXXI, people can now gain a better understanding of how the buildings fit into their site and the overall city.
Zaha Hadid's MAXXI museum. Courtesy Google Earth.
Other current Voyager tours include Museums Around the World, Lost Civilizations from Above, Hemingway’s Hangouts, and Following Charles Dickens.