The potential of Google Maps for producing Virtual Field Trips is well-established, and I even coded my own online application (“Mission MapQuest“) which allows students and teachers to quickly design their own (blogpost here).

A particularly strong feature of Google Maps is the ‘Street View’ facility, which is now being extended to enable users to venture inside, rather than just around, some key buildings and monuments.

I have started to use this in my studies of Gothic and Romanesque architecture with my students. I have located five British cathedrals, and I will ask students to use the tours to complete various tasks rather than just glide around them aimlessly, for example:

  • Which of these cathedrals would you describe as being the ‘odd one out’ and why?
  • Which of these two cathedrals are the most similar? Explain your answer.
  • Which of these cathedrals do you like the most? Explain your answer with appropriate adjectives.
  • Position yourself in a spot within one cathedral to highlight its symmetry most effectively. Take a screenshot to show your teacher.
  • Position yourself in a spot within one cathedral that you think shows as many key architectural features as possible. Take a screenshot and print it off, then label as many of these as possible (e.g. Rose window; ribbed ceilings; curved arches; pointed arches; corinthian columns; heraldic shields; funeral monuments / plaques; stained glass).

Sample Google 3D interiors: