I needn’t have strained to get a view of London on my flight into Heathrow recently. The new SuperZoom feature on www.192.com displays central London, from Hyde Park to the Queen Elizabeth Bridge; Stoke Newington to Crystal Palace, at a resolution of 1.5m on the ground for every 1cm on your screen. (The other UK maps on the site are 12.5m for every 1cm.)
Launched last week, if you’re used to Google Earth or Virtual Earth it comes as a dizzying shock to discover just how much closer you can get to 720km2 of London. There’s an odd kind of virtual vertigo as you pan back from the highest zoom level – analogous, apparently, to looking down from a
When I tried to look around 10 Downing Street (would there be a man with his head in his hands, alone in the garden?), a white popup said ‘Image not available’, except that I could still zoom under it, as it were, and snoop around, as if the sign was merely an awning. No such pop-ups with the MI6 building or Buckingham Palace (whose grounds are full of white vans).
In Abney Park, Stoke Newington, I was impressed by William Hosking’s stunning chapel, its cruciform plan and equal arms make it appear as a Greek cross. The Thames Barrier flood gates resemble alien sea creatures leaving muddy wakes. Then, there’s the apposite radiator-grille plan of Stockwell bus garage.