Taking a Virtual European Tour

I’ve always wanted to vacation in Europe, to visit both the world-famous tourist destinations and the quaint, little-known spots that only locals would know about. Until that time I can backpack my way there, or perhaps even move in for good someday, I’ll be content with exploring Europe by hand–with clicks of the mouse. And now I can do just that, as Google Maps just added high-resolution satellite imagery and vector map data of several European countries, including France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

Here are a few screencaps:

Of course, high-res imagery of some of thse areas may have been available before (elsewhere or with Google Earth/Google Maps). But now you also get vector map data for these and most other European countries, meaning street and building information are now available. Maybe you’re searching by address or by building. Or you’re probably looking for a restaurant or business establishment. Just key in a street address, a known landmark, or the establishment name, and Google Maps will take you there (or present you with available choices). All this is still in “beta” of course, so we can expect further refinements as Google goes along with development.

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