How do you calculate area of that garden in the backyard of your home ? Or how do you measure size of an outdoor swimming pool or a football stadium?

Well that’s very easy if you have Google Maps. Using the built-in distance measurement tool of Google Maps, we can quickly (and fairly accurately) measure the circumference and area of pretty much any location on earth.

Case A: Area of a lawn at the White House – The Ellipse

Switch to the My Maps tab in the right sidebar of Google Maps and tick the "Distance Measurement Tool".

Now click the two opposites points of the ellipse as shown Fig. A to measure the length of the vertical segment – the length appears in the sidebar. Repeat this process for the horizontal segment as in Fig. B.

Finally use the standard formula π*A*B/4 to measure area of that elliptical garden.

Case B: US Defense Department HeadquartersThe Pentagon

The Pentagon building in Washington DC is more or less the shape of a rectangular pentagon with five equal sides.

To measure the area of the pentagon, we can divide the building into 10 right angled triangles of similar dimensions. Using the Distance Measurement tool of Google Maps, we calculate the height of the triangle and the base.

The Pentagon area will roughly be 5*b*h where b is the side of the pentagon and h is the distance from center.

Case C: World’s Largest Swimming Pool San Alfonso del Mar

This is a slightly complex case than the White House example because the swimming pool in Chile is not another rectangular shaped pool.

If you were to calculate the length of this swimming pool, just start tracing a path along the length with your mouse like the Pen tool in a drawing program – see animation.