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How to measure distance on Google Maps

Prepare for your journey by measuring the road ahead of you.
By
June 23, 2022

One of the many underrated features of Google Maps is measuring the distance between two or more points. This lets you know how far you need to go, whether on foot or wheels, to better plan for the journey ahead. Here’s how to measure distance on Google Maps.

Read more: How to create a custom map in Google Maps

QUICK ANSWER

To measure distance on Google Maps on a desktop, right-click on your starting point, then choose measure distance. Then, select as many other points on the map to calculate the total distance.

Using the Google Maps mobile app, tap and hold to drop a pin and select measure distance from the location description. Move the crosshairs to calculate distance.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS 

How to measure distance in Google Maps on your computer

The first thing to check is if you’re using Maps in Lite mode. If there’s a lightning bolt at the bottom of your screen, you’re in Lite mode, meaning you won’t be able to measure the distance between points. Open the full version of Google Maps from your web browser.

Select a starting point on the map, whether a specified location or a custom pin. Then, right-click on your starting point and select Measure distance from the drop-down menu.

right click measure distance
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Then, click on another point on the map to calculate the distance between them. You chain together as many points as you like to calculate the total length.

maps distance
Adam Birney / Android Authority

If you make a mistake, you can click a point to remove it. Alternatively, you can move a point by clicking and dragging it. This is helpful to get distance measurements more accurate to the terrain since Google Maps only measures distance in a straight line.

The total distance is displayed at your last point and in the box at the bottom. When you’re done measuring distance, click the X icon.

How to measure distance in Google Maps (iPhone or Android)

Open the Google Maps app on your mobile device. Touch and hold anywhere on the map to drop a red pin as your starting point. Then, from the location description, tap Measure distance.

Measure distance mobile
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Next, move the map to add the black crosshairs on the following point you want to add. Then, at the bottom right, tap Add point. You can add as many points as you like, and the total distance is displayed at the bottom of the screen.

add points mobile
Adam Birney / Android Authority

To remove the last point you added, tap the Undo arrow. To remove all points, at the top right, tap the three-dot icon and then tap Clear.

Calculate square feet or meters on Google Maps

You don’t need to hire any professionals to get an estimated measurement of a piece of land. Google Maps can help you measure plots of land of any shape in square feet and square meters using the same measure distance tool.

We recommend using the Google Maps desktop version to measure an area since it calculates the area for you, which can be helpful for shapes that aren’t square. However, feel free to use the mobile version to practice your math. In that case, draw one horizontal and one vertical line, then multiply their distance.

To begin on the desktop, zoom in on the place you want to measure. Next, it’s helpful to switch to satellite mode via the Layers tile on the left to see the actual form of the land.

Then, right-click on the corner of a building or land space you’d like to measure and select Measure distance. Left-click to add more points along the border until you connect with your starting point. The more points you add, the more precise the area will be.

BC place area
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Once you create a complete boundary, Google will calculate the land size in square feet and the square meters in the box below. Each point is draggable, so you can adjust them for further precision if needed. To remove a point, click it.

FAQs

While not perfect, the Google Maps distance measurement tools are sufficiently accurate for most purposes. Google Maps aligns its digital map surface with the earth’s GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) scale to measure the distance.

Yes, you can use the measure distance tool to trace your walking route and calculate how far you walked.

It might be worth investing in a Fitbit band if you want to keep track of all your stats while walking or running.