Golden Gate Bridge

Google Maps gives you a way to measure distances on a map. If you right click on the map and choose Measure Distance, the first point you click becomes the starting point. When you click a second point, Google Maps provides a scale with the distance between the points  shown in a box.

measure distance in google maps  Golden Gate Bridge Distance Google Maps
This scale can be used to transpose a coordinate plane over a Google Maps screen capture. Microsoft Word’s drawing tools were used to draw the coordinate plane and label the axes. With the coordinate plane in place, you can use the distance formula to calculate the area a building or geographical feature occupies.

Find the area of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

Lincoln Memorial

Note the pool is not oriented in a perfect east/west orientation. A skewed rectangle is overlaid.

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Coordinate Plane

Once you have calculated the area, use an Internet search to verify your findings.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is primarily a rectangular shaped building. Use the image below to calculate the area occupied by the building’s footprint.

Metropolitan Museum of Art with coordinate plane

Degas Ballerina

Research the square footage of the Met using an Internet search engine. Is the result of your calculation reasonable? Justify your answer.

The two examples above feature two well-known landmarks with known areas. Can you think of a situation when this technique could be used to calculate the area of some landmark, geographical feature or place in Google Maps or Google Earth that is unknown?

Below is an area perimeter and circumference formulas foldable you can use in an interactive notebook if you choose.

area perimeter foldable