How to measure distance with Google Maps
In this guide on how to measure distance with Google Maps, we’ll show you how to get the most out of one of the app’s lesser-known but potentially very useful features.
When you search for a route, Google Maps already clearly shows the duration of a trip. But what if you want to know the exact distance between two points? This can help you design your own running and cycling routes, or take into account local shortcuts that the app itself doesn’t take into account.
Fortunately, Google Maps lets you know the distance between any two points on the globe, either as the crow flies or using an actual travel route along roads and trails. If you want to measure a specific route, you’ll have to plot it yourself, but it’s easy to do. Just follow the steps below.
You can measure distance in Google Maps using the web app on the desktop, including Windows and macOS, and on Android or iOS mobile devices.
How to measure distance with Google Maps: PC and Mac
1. Open Google Maps and right click on a starting point. In the menu that appears, click on “Measure distance”.
2. Click anywhere on the map to draw a line between the start point and the end point. The distance, in a straight line, will appear in a box at the bottom of the screen. You can click on the marked points to delete them.
3. To plot a more complex route, click on the line and drag it into position at different points. The total distance measured, between the start and end points, will automatically adjust. Alternatively, you can plot a route by repeatedly clicking along the planned path.
4. To finish, click the “X” symbol in the distance measurement box.
How to measure distance in Google Maps: Android and iOS
1. Open Google Maps, then press and hold on a starting point until a red marker appears.
2. At the bottom of the screen, tap the name of the place. It can be a specific address, but don’t worry if it’s just a city or town name, tap it anyway.
3. Tap “Measure distance”. You will be brought back to the map, with a white dot surrounded by black crosshairs on the point you marked.
4. By pressing, holding and dragging, move the map so that the crosshair points to the next point you want to add. Once the reticle is in place, press the blue “+” button. The distance between the first and the last point will appear at the bottom left of the screen.
5. To measure a more complex route, set a new point at each turn you would need to do. Unlike PC and Mac, you cannot drag and drop an existing line, so draw the route step by step using the “+” button.
You can also undo points by tapping the back arrow symbol at the top right of the screen.