IOS 6 Adds 3-D Flyover Maps To Many More Cities Worldwide


Gaudí's modernista fever dream ,the Sagrada Familia, in terrifying 3-D.



Back when Apple showed off the first iOS 6 beta, there were a paltry 11 cities featured in the spectacular 3-D Flyoverfeature.

I figured a week or two back that the new maps app wouldn’t launch with such a crappy line up, and I was right. With the Gold Master (GM) version of iOS 6 released to developers yesterday, maps just got a whole lot more 3-D cities.

My home town of Barcelona is in there, as is New York, Rome and many others. It’s pretty easy to spot “from the air” which sections of your city have been Flyovered, as they are sharper and more saturated: even when viewed from a distance the satellite view seems to be rendered from Apple’s 3-D data, leaving the surrounding satellite imagery looking rather flat (sorry) and washed out.

The official way to tell if a two finger-swipe will switch to 3-D is to check the little “3-D” badge at bottom left. If Flyover is available it’ll switch to a little building icon.

Flyover is nothing short of spectacular, and aims to take the place of two of Google’s map views at once: Street View and Terrain. It makes a pretty good job of terrain by folding satellite images (or 3-D renderings) over a 3-D map, so you can see the bumps and the mountains right there.

Street View needn’t be worried yet, though. Apple’s rendered streets give a great view of the architecture, but it looks more like an empty, creepy ghost town than Google’s messy everything-goes street-level photos. This typifies the difference between the two companies.

Navigating the 3-D cities is like playing a game. Two finger twists rotate the buildings, and the buildings are drawn in over a black grid as they load. It’s like Tron, or the old PS1 version of Ridge Racer. You’ll be forgiven for taking hours-long virtual tours of cities far away.

Those without access to the developer preview will have to wait until next Wednesday 19th to see Flyover in action. And curiously, Apple’s own site currently lists the 3-D buildings feature as U.S-only.


  • Gaston Rieder

    Does anybody know which south-American cities are supported in 3D?

  • BenjyWeeks

    3D only in the US would be just terrible…Google have managed to make it happen in the UK

  • BigLama

    WoW thats breathtaking!! cant wait to try it out. Are major landmarks in 3D as well?

  • OleguerTxdr

    Very cool, but there’s something that really pisses me off on iOS 6’s Maps App. Everything in Catalonia is labeled in Spanish! We do NOT speak Spanish, we are NOT Spanish and Google’s Maps App, at least, respected that by labeling it all in Catalan. People outside Catalonia can’t care less about that, as I wouldn’t care if a little region in Norway was labeled in Swedish, but streets, squares and avenues in Catalonia (including its capital, Barcelona) are named in Catalan, then, a proper map should display the same exact name. They even translate names of people! A clear example is Carrer de Pau Clarís, which appears to be called “Calle de Pablo Claris”, who was nobody. If there was a street in Barcelona called after Steve Jobs, I’m sure they wouldn’t put Estéfano Faenas. Is there any way to let Cupertino know about this? Because Apple Spain are way to fascist to even change names! I’m sorry, but that is an insult to the city and country of Barcelona.