Measure distance on Google Maps

Includes workshop practice, painting and weathering, model photography etc.
User avatar
Posts: 109
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:45 pm

Measure distance on Google Maps

Postby BryanJohnson » Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:05 pm

This may be a useful research tool for some.

Google Maps has a distance measurement tool available in beta test at present. Basically, using the satellite image, it will give you the actual distance between two or more selected points. The display units can be switched between metric or imperial, and will change to fit the distance, e.g. feet, miles. If you are modelling a prototype with any features still showing on Google maps, this may be a help.

I’ve tried it on part of my patio at home. With a tape measure on the ground I get 14’ 10.5”. Using the Google tool gives me 14.8514’, which is 14’ 10.2”. The engineers amongst you will of course love that putting two mouse clicks on a slightly fuzzy image gives a display of accuracy to the nearest 1/83”, but that seems pretty close! It will also tell me that the distance between the two bridges at my prototype station is 2,062’ and by entering a new location between the clicks, I now know that I live 46.1254 miles from it as the crow flies.

To access it, once in Google Maps, select “Maps Lab” in the bottom left hand corner near the copyright statement. Enable the Distance Measurement Tool in the pop up window and save changes. Select the small ruler symbol to the left of the scale in the bottom left hand corner of the map itself and click on the locations to be measured. The default display is metric.


Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:17 pm

Re: Measure distance on Google Maps

Postby RedDragon » Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:32 pm

Hi Bryan,

Thanks for sharing that, a very useful tool. However it does make me realise that Kirkby Stephen East from the west to the east points I had hoped to create at around 60' in 4mm is totally unrealistic. Either some serious shrinking between the station and the junction to the Eden Valley route is required or a new location will need to be identified.


Posts: 640
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:06 pm

Re: Measure distance on Google Maps

Postby dal-t » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:56 pm

Google Earth also has a measuring tool (Ruler) and with its 'path' option this allows you to measure a route that is not simply a straight line. Can't speak for it's accuracy yet, though - not having a patio I've just got it to measure my drive from the corner of the house to the chemin rural, but it's too hot at present to go out with the field measure and see how close a match I get. Bit frightening in terms of my planned garden 'O' gauge line though - what was going to be a double-track spur looks like it just got singled, unless I can get an exceptional deal from Peco!
David L-T

John Duffy
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:21 pm

Re: Measure distance on Google Maps

Postby John Duffy » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:42 pm

The measuring feature is available by right clicking the object and selecting "measure distance" then clicking the other end of the object. It is reasonably accurate but you do have to take account of the satellite not being directly overhead, as such you can get a degree of overhang or shadow.


User avatar
Andy W
Posts: 872
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 8:11 am

Re: Measure distance on Google Maps

Postby Andy W » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:02 am

But be careful not to right-click and select "launch missile' - or you'll have no patio left to measure.
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

Return to “Tools and Techniques”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests