Moving on with Google Maps – measure areas of buildings and sites in seconds now!

We sure have come a long way since the 90’s. From glove boxes stuffed with printed maps to  obeying Siri or her nameless Google counterpart. And then stepped in Google Earth and Google Maps to further uncomplicate the navigation experience.

Google Earth, released in 2005 offered 3D imagery, turn-by-turn navigation and flight simulator to name a few along with a ‘ruler’ tool to measure distances. Though both Google Earth and Google Maps were based on satellite imagery, for a long time, they still remained to be very different products. Having evolved to become much more similar over time. Primarily because of 3D imagery being added to Google Maps. Having said that, both still have clearly defined roles, depending how and where they are being accessed.

Google Earth is still a favourite among people on the go due to a much fuller bank of 3D content. But after Google Maps updated its desktop version with the feature to measure distance back in 2014, it gained popularity pretty quickly. Over a billion downloads in the same year! Thanks to the fact that it keeps user data synced across devices, has excellent turn-by-turn navigation features, and is a much lighter online application.

And now, if you need to put together a quick estimate or just gain some general information on a building or site, you can gain some valuable information using Google Maps too. Based on its satellite imagery, you can precisely measure travel distance, exact plot sizes, and even land area of entire states or provinces, within seconds. You would not want to rely solely on this information, but it can be a very useful tool for preliminary estimates or planning purposes.

Here’s how it goes with Google Maps:

All you need to do is find your site or building on google maps, enable the “satellite” mode and then right click anywhere on the map. A message (as shown in below screenshot) will then appear on your map:


Click “Measure distance” and you will be allowed to click any point on the map.  Click a second time and a line will appear between the two points you selected.  If you connect all of the lines, Maps will even calculate your area for you. You will be able to find that in the upper left hand corner under the search box, like in the screenshot below:

For high level field verification and estimation, we do not need to depend on survey experts anymore to measure the plots/buildings physically. Just open Google Maps, and start measuring!

About the author

KS Venkatesh is a Civil Engineering graduate with over 16 years of experience in Corporate Interior Fit-out projects and Greenfield Construction projects. He has working experience with various industry stakeholders, setting up of infrastructure and workplace solutions for various occupiers and developers.

Colliers International | Mumbai, Indiabulls Finance Centre, 17th Floor, Unit No. 1701, Tower 3, Senapati Bapat Marg, Elphinstone (W), Mumbai 400 013, Maharashtra, India | Tel: +91 022 4924 9780