Just in time for Earth Day Google Earth, the software program that allows users to virtually explore our planet through topographic maps, satellite imagery, and more, relaunched today with a suite of new features including guided tours of buildings by Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.
Teaming up with storytellers, scientists, and nonprofits from around the world, Google created ?Voyager,? a showcase of interactive guided tours that take users from the mountains, islands, and jungles of the world courtesy of BBC Earth?s ?Natural Treasures? to treks on the Galápagos Islands to discoveries of Machu Picchu.
As part of Voyager, Google Earth has compiled a tour of six Hadid-designed structures including the MAXXI museum in Rome, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, and the headquarters of Belgium?s Port Authority in Antwerp.
Eight of Gehry?s buildings are also featured, and they include the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, and the Dancing House in Prague.
Each map point comes with a brief description and the ability to view the structure in 3D or 2D (aerial). This view also provides crucial geographic and spacial context that allows virtual visitors to see the surrounding neighborhoods and cities in which the buildings stand.
Other features include ?Knowledge Cards? and the ability to experience a locale in 3D and see it from every angle. The relaunch comes just days before Earth Day and is available on the web in Chrome and on Android, rolling out soon.