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How to Measure a Straight Line in Google Maps

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TECH TIP

In addition to supplying highway mileage, Google can calculate the shortest distance between two locations.

On the mobile version of Google Maps, left, you can measure the shortest distance between two points by entering a starting point and selecting “Measure distance.” Then drag the map, right, so the black circle is over the second location and tap the Add (+) button to see the direct mileage at the bottom of the screen.CreditThe New York Times
J. D. Biersdorfer

Q. Google Maps gives the mileage between places based on driving directions on the available highways, but is there a way to calculate the distance between two towns “as the crow flies”?

A. The driving directions that Google offers between locations do factor in the available roads, as well as traffic conditions, detours and other situations that may take you out of your way. While this is helpful for trip planning and navigation, Google Maps also includes a tool to simply measure distances between points in a straight line.

When using Google Maps in a desktop web browser, right-click the city or starting point you want to use and select “Measure distance” from the menu. Next, click the second point on the map to see the direct distance in miles and kilometers displayed in a small box at the bottom of the window.

Click elsewhere on the map to add more points to measure, or click an added point to delete it. You can move measurement points by dragging them on the map. When you have finished, click the X in the box at the bottom of the screen.

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