Comparing building sizes with Mapfrappe

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In People & Media, Uncategorized

Google Earth is an amazing programme, especially its measurement tools. I have compared measuring buildings on Google Earth with an on the ground measurement and the difference is usually less than one metre. In fact using Google Earth can be as good as pacing the building out by foot and a whole lot quicker. It has a number of drawbacks of course, but it is ideal for a quick check of the foot print of a building.

There is a website that uses Google Earth to allow you to easily compare the relative sizes of building footprints and much more. It is called Mapfrappe, click here for link.

Its very simple to use. It uses two windows with maps, the top one is called the reference map. It is here that you find and draw a line around the base object you wish to use as a comparison.

You simple locate the object you wish to compare, using the search function if necessary. Then you draw a line around the perimeter of the object. Once done, you will see the same outline portrayed in the second window below. This lower window is called the reference map. You may need to zoom in if it is something small like a building outline. You can move around the globe to compare the outlined object against any other. I had a bit of fun with it:

First I outlined the building foot print of a large iconic building, The Pentagon building in Washington DC in this case. See below and note the blue lines around the building outer edge and inner courtyard.

The Pentagon Building outlined in the reference map
Step 1. The Pentagon Building outlined in the reference map. Note the blue line around the building perimeter

Then in the comparison map I compared the foot print of The Pentagon with other large buildings. Here it is compared to Waterloo Train Station in London, click to enlarge.

Pentagon compared with Waterloo Train Station, London
Step 2. Pentagon v Waterloo Train Station, London

And here it is compared to the New Century Global Centre in China, click to enlarge.

Pentagon compared New Century Global Center, Chengdu
Pentagon v New Century Global Centre, Chengdu, China

And to change things around slightly, here is the outline of the largest building in the World (by footprint) overlaid on the The Pentagon. Again click to enlarge.

Aalsmeer Flower Auction v The Pentagon
Aalsmeer Flower Auction v The Pentagon

You can compare different objects for ever, another one I did was the outline of Dublin (in blue) over-laid onLondon:

Dublin v London footprints
Dublin v London footprints

Of course it goes without saying that bigger isn’t better, but still this is a very clever website for comparing parts and objects in the World. There are lots of other interesting uses for instance: comparing Countries, lakes, counties, or even the route of your run overlaid on Rome or other historic city.

2 thoughts on “Comparing building sizes with Mapfrappe

  1. Thanks for sharing this, I too am amazed at Google Earth but I didn’t know about Mapfrappe. I will definitely check this website out today and compare some of the airport buildings I have worked in with those in other countries! Appreciate your tips!

  2. It is so true. The Google map/earth street view, birdseye view, building walk through, where you can virtually go into a shop on the high street of those who signed up for it is fantastic. Gives a whole new meaning to online shopping when you can virtually walk into Arnotts and virtually browse and pick up objects, it’d bring a whole knew online shopping experience. But would such a thing take off.

    Back to my original thought, the virtual site visit, especially to those hard to get places like the roof of a building is priceless in helping determine the orientation of roof structures you can’t see from the ground.

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