Eugene is a qualified control/instrumentation engineer Bsc (Eng) and has worked as a developer of electronics & software for SCADA systems.
Google Map's Measuring Tool can be used to measure the distance between two points and the result is displayed in feet and metres. Alternatively, values are displayed in miles and kilometres if a user zooms out to view a greater-sized region of the map.
Recently, however, I discovered that it's also possible to draw lines around a region on a map and calculate the area enclosed by the line segments. In this guide, we'll discover first how to measure distance using Google Maps on a desktop (or notebook) and then how to measure area.
How to Measure Length
First let's measure the diagonal length of the field in the photo below.
Step 1. Right Click to Bring Up the Context Menu
Right click on the map and select "Measure Distance " from the pop-up menu. A small circular marker appears.
Step 2. Select the Start Point
Left click and drag the start marker to the point where you want to measure from. Alternatively you could have right clicked first on the point where you wanted to start from before selecting "Measure Distance" from the menu.
Step 3. Click on the End Point
Click the point on the map where you want to measure to. A second marker appears with a line joining it to the start marker. Distance is displayed on a panel at the bottom of the screen and also on a label adjacent to the end point on the map.
If you zoom in, you'll notice that graduations are added to the line joining the start and end points. In the photo below, 10 graduations are added from the 0 to 200 feet label.
How to Measure Area
The steps to measuring area are similar to those for measuring length.
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Step 1. Repeat the Process for Measuring Length
Using the steps above, position a start point and second point on the boundary of the region you want to measure the area of.
Step 2. Continue to Position Nodes Around the Perimeter of the Region
Continue to left click and add new points or nodes around the measured region of interest. Distance from the start point is labelled at regular intervals along the complete path (in the second image below at 500, 1000 and 1500 feet). The total path length is displayed in a panel at the bottom of the screen.
Look at the photo below. This selection path on another map shows more clearly how intermediate distances from the start point are labelled at regular intervals along the path.
Step 3. Position the End Point on the Start Point
Click on the start point to complete the boundary path. The box at the bottom of the screen updates to show enclosed area and distance (The perimeter length of the field in this example.)
How to Convert Between Measurements
|Convert||What to Do|
Square feet to acres
Divide by 43560
Square metres to hectares
Divide by 10,000
Feet to miles
Divide by 5280
Metres to kilometres
Divide by 1000
Moving the Nodes to Adjust the Boundary
If the line segments don't perfectly match the boundary of interest, they can be repositioned by moving the nodes. You can do this while drawing the boundary or alternatively after fully completing it (when you've clicked on the start node again). Simply left click and drag any of the node points to adjust their position. You can also left click on a node to delete it. The panel showing distance and area at the bottom of the screen updates to show the changed measurements.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Eugene Brennan