How to Use Google Maps Virtual 3D Photo Tours Online

Updated on May 22, 2020
viking305 profile image

L.M. Reid is an Irish writer who has published many articles in magazines and online.

How to use Google Maps Virtual 3D Photo tours
How to use Google Maps Virtual 3D Photo tours | Source

Google Maps Virtual 3D Photo Tours

How do I make a Google Maps Street View Virtual 3D Photo Tour? In this article, I will show you how you can now visit and take a virtual 3D photo tour online of major cities and famous landmarks around the world. Here are some step-by-step instructions with videos and photos.

  1. Go to Google Maps
  2. Type in the city and country you want to see.
  3. When it uploads take a look and see if it has a 3D Photo Tour of your chosen place.
  4. Then go for an amazing virtual walk.
  5. You will feel like you are really walking within that building for real.

Famous Landmarks

Are you looking for a specific tourist attraction?

  1. Go to Google Maps
  2. Search for a landmark you would like to see in 3D by typing in the name
  3. The results will come up on the left-hand side panel of the page
  4. If there is a tour available, it will tell you here
  5. If this particular landmark has one available, then click on the photo or the link
  6. Now you can start your online walk around this attraction

Map of the World

  1. Go to Google Maps
  2. You will see a map of the world
  3. See which country you would like to visit and click this to enlarge
  4. The labels in each country will be visible
  5. Click one, and it will tell you instantly if a photo tour is also there for that landmark


To be able to access the 3D Photo Tours you will need to have WebGL installed on to your computer so you can access the 3D graphics. Unfortunately, this software does not work if you use Internet Explorer.

You can access and use it if you use these internet browsers.

  • Google Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox

If you do not use these browsers, then you can easily download one for free in a matter of minutes. I use Google Chrome because it is the fastest and the best.

How to Download WebGL

If you are not sure if you have WebGL installed then follow the instructions above to pick out a photo tour you want to look at. When you click on it if you do not have WebGL, you will be given the option of installing it from a pop-up box from Google. It will say ‘You must enable Maps GL’ then press ok.

Google Maps Photo Tours

People Going on Vacation

If they are unsure which places to visit on their next holiday in certain cities because of time restrictions, then this is the answer. Tourists can visit famous places first online with Google Maps 3D Photo Tours and then decide which attractions to visit for real.

Teachers and Students

Teachers can use it in schools and colleges to make the learning experience for their students more interesting and memorable. Just imagine if students are studying American History, for instance.

This particular day the subject is about the Alamo. The teacher can use the Google Maps photo tour of the Alamo and show it on the big screen connected to their computer. That would be impressive and make the history lesson so much more interesting and fun.

Buckingham Palace in London UK on Google Maps
Buckingham Palace in London UK on Google Maps | Source


Painters can use it to get a better feel and perspective so they can create great paintings of these famous buildings. There are a few artists who earn a living by painting famous landmarks and buildings from all over the world.

They do not visit these places in reality but access the photos from Google Maps. That was before this new Google Maps 3D Photos Tour came about, so they will be very pleased with this new development.

Writers of Fiction and Non-Fiction Books

Writers can use it to use as scenes in their fiction writing where their characters are visiting far places in the world. They can describe their characters walking around and what they see because now the writer can do just that from their laptop computers.

Non-fiction writers and those who write articles can also take advantage of the 3D photo effects of the Google Tours to show exactly what the places look like. Those who write articles online can leave a link too so that the reader of their article can enjoy visual facts as well.

How Has Google Created This?

They picked a famous tourist attraction and combined the best photos from their Picasa and Panoramio photo sharing service that people uploaded when they visited that place for real.

Then they used their new technology to arrange the photos overlapping the best ones together in a way that anyone who uses Google Maps can now go online and take a 3D tour of that attraction. And let me tell you it is impressive technology.

If people labelled the photos they uploaded in Picasa and Panoramio as ‘Public’ then if good enough they may be used for photo tours. If Google Maps uses your photo, then you get to have your name there too. The 15,000 tours can be accessed directly from Google's Maps service.

Tours of 15,000 Famous Landmarks in 3D

Some of these are:

  • Central Park in New York, America
  • Yosemite National Park in California, America
  • Statue of Liberty in America
  • The Alamo in America
  • George Washington: Museum and Mount Vernon Estate in America
  • The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, America
  • Carnegie Hall, in New York, America
  • The Plaza Hotel in New York, America
  • Yankee Stadium in New York, America
  • Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox Baseball in Boston America
  • The National Baseball Hall of Fame in New York, America
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame in America
  • Emigrates Stadium, Arsenal Football Ground in London, UK
  • Buckingham Palace in London, England
  • Tower of London in London, UK
  • Palace of Westminster in London, UK
  • Sydney Opera House in Australia
  • St. Mark’s Basilica in Italy
  • Trevi Fountain in Italy
  • Colosseum inRome, Italy
  • Royal Palace of Milan‎, Italy
  • St Mark's Basilica in Venice
  • Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany
  • Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Tower of London  on Google Maps
The Tower of London on Google Maps | Source

Virtual Tours Online

This new feature is really awesome and so easy to use. As a teacher or student, it can be used to great effect for study and learning. If you plan to go on holiday, you can see if your destination has any 3D photo tours online. Then you can plan your vacation around these famous landmarks.

Or if you are unable to travel for real then why not have a go at visiting some of those famous places online instead. Now you can see famous sites from around the world. I guarantee it that you will be impressed.

© 2012 L M Reid


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    Post Comment
    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      That is a shame Time traveler2 because the 3D effect is really great. At least you were able to see the photo tour in action though.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      8 years ago from USA

      I tried it but couldn't pull up the 3D effect...however, the photo tour itself was great. Thanks!

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Yes try it on your laptop when you get home Brett because it really is amazing what hey have done with the photos to turn them into the 3D effect. Thanks for the share and the votes

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      8 years ago from Asia

      Unfortunately doesn't seem to be available on my computer, but definitely useful technology for anyone it works for. I'm using a netbook, so may check with the laptop later. The 3d photo technology is amazing, even with 3d phones already in South Korea.

      Cheers for SHARING your find, up and interesting.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Yes Google Earth is fascinating to use, I can spend hours on it. This new feature of Google Maps was only launched on Wednesday. I must say I am impressed with it

      diogenes, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment

    • diogenes profile image


      8 years ago from UK and Mexico

      This is really worth knowing. I use Google Earth all the time but didn't know about the virtual tours. We won't need to travel at all soon, good thing it's so expensive and unpleasant.



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