Now when you get directions to a new location using Google Maps you have another option – Helicopter view.

Google added the new feature today, which allows you to get a birds-eye view of your surroundings when looking up an address or directions using the service.

So when would you need helicopter view? One of the biggest advantages of the feature is that it allows you to see elevation as well as location. For instance, I’m currently visiting San Francisco and used Google Maps to get direction to somewhere I wanted to visit in town. The map indicated the walk was only a few miles, which was entirely doable. Unfortunately what it failed to point out was that a mile of that walk was up a gigantic hill – not the best walk of my life.

To check out helicopter view for yourself a point A and B into the directions portion of Google Maps just like you have done in the past. When Google generates the directions, click the “3D” button beside the results to check out your route from above.

Check it out for yourself, and then tell us what you think in the comments!