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Google Maps Has Finally Added a Geodesic Distance Measuring Tool

Helicopter owners and tech-savvy birds, rejoice. You can now map the literal shortest distance to your destination.
The District's socklike perimeter reveals itself.
The District's socklike perimeter reveals itself.Google Maps

Measuring geodesic distance—that's distance as the crow flies, or the literal shortest route between two points—on Google Maps long required an oddly analog approach: You looked at the map’s scale and used a ruler or thumb to make rough calculations.

Google Maps this week has updated that stopgap method with a fresh tool. Users can right-click on any location on a map, select “measure distance,” click on another location, and see a line displaying the exact mileage between the two points.