I spy: new high-resolution map reveals Warsaw in all its glory and detail

This bird’s-eye view of the palace at Wilanów is just one of the 80,000 pictures that form the map. UM Warszawa

Warsaw city council has launched a high resolution map of the capital that offers incredible detail and reveals hidden corners that have so far been inaccessible to online snoopers.

The photo map, released this week, allows internet users to see any point in the city from five perspectives – a bird’s-eye view from above, and also from north, south, east and west angles. This is possible thanks to nearly 80,000 high resolution photographs taken during flights over the city.

The resolution on each of the photos is so high that a pixel on the screen is equivalent to only 8 centimetres on the ground.

The map can be viewed at http://www.ukosne.um.warszawa.pl/?hg=610 

Hidden Warsaw: the map provides a good view of the rarely seen courtyard at Russia’s massive embassy.UM Warszawa

The photos were taken during special flights in which a plane was fitted with a specialised rig with four medium-format cameras that simultaneously took pictures from the front, back and sideways at 45-degree angles.

Birds-eye view photos of the city are regularly taken each year at an altitude of 1,800 metres, but this is the first time that multiple-angle images have also been taken. What’s more, the lower altitude of 1,300 metres means that the detail of the images is much higher than before.

The images were taken in April last year, which offered the best chance of favourable weather at a time when the trees didn’t have leaves, maximising the detail that can enjoyed on the multi-angle map.

The president’s backyard. A security officer waits by a presidential limousine parked at the rear of the palace.UM Warszawa

"Now every object in the city can be viewed from five sides, and their height, distance and surface area can be measured. Any address or point of interest in the city can be searched,” City Hall said on its Facebook page.

While the new map will be of use to developers and architects as well as for public security and environmental protection, ordinary internet users can find much to enjoy.

The first port of call for many will be their own address, where they will be able to make out details as small as items on balcony tables and potted plants.

The reclining figure of a sunbathing polar bear gives an indication of the detail available on the map.UM Warszawa

There is much more to enjoy though. Over in the Old Town, eagle-eyed browsers will spot the recognisable yellow umbrella of the free walking tour guide corralling her flock of tourists under Zygmunt’s column.

Further down Krakowskie Przedmieście, the normally off-limits President’s Palace now reveals its secrets. At the rear, a red carpet can be seen leading out onto the cascading gardens. Meanwhile, using the map’s westerly perspective, a protection officer can be seen standing alert by the head of state’s limousine. Change to the south view, and they’ve already sped off.

The pictures were taken at an altitude of just 1,300 metres to provide extra detail.UM Warszawa/{SOURCE_MISSING}

Travelling south on Belwederska, map users can view the rarely seen inner courtyard of the secretive Russian Embassy.

For sheer visual pleasure though, little in the city beats the aerial view of the clean geometric shapes that form the garden at Wilanów Palace.

Perhaps the most delightful discovery so far is the view of the polar bear at Warsaw Zoo enjoying the early spring sun as it lazes on its back.

The multi-angled photo plan of Warsaw is free to use by anyone with an internet connection.