HOWEVER much London’s pigeons are universally disliked, many would admit their freedom to roam the city’s skies fills them with jealously.

The filthy urban birds truly have the run of the city, with the best views of the city’s landmarks like the London Eye, City Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral.

University of London researchers have combined the Google Earth flight simulator with a motion sensitive controller to allow people to fly around the city using bird movements.

Users can flap their arms to gain altitude, drop them to dive and twist to the left and right to change direction.

The research is part of work into urban simulations and procedural modelling undertaken by a team from the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London.

As part of the public outreach side of the work, they have created a the Pigeon Simulator where you can fly like a pigeon exploring different parts of London.

The simulator uses a Microsoft Kinect sensor to track users’ body movements and gestures and converts them into movements through Google Earth 3D’s web plugin.

Andrew Hudson-Smith, head of CASA, said his team were hoping to bring the simulator to the Museum of Leeds for the public to try and were in negotiation to have one installed in a public area of London’s City Hall. ‘It’s fun but it’s trying to communicate a point that there’s all these live feeds out there,’ he told MailOnline Science.

‘Every time we tweet and every time we use a phone we are putting these live feeds out there which can be put to use.’

He added: ‘We can write reports that go out to councils and government offices, but people don’t really read those; but if you can fly around Leeds or London then you can see things like traffic flows and all this data presented.’       –MO