“Google Street View” – Did You Ever Wonder How It Works?

26 Jul

Often I view the street views at Google Maps. I enter an address and then zoom in to see the actual street view.

For instance, here’s a view taken in our neighborhood from Google Street View:

I never really dwelled on how it was made.

Until recently, when I was out walking in that very spot, and noticed this:

There, stopped at the red light on 10th Avenue and 44th Street, was a Google Street View Car and Camera!

Here’s a close-up view of the camera:

Wow! It looks like something from outer space, doesn’t it?

After seeing this, I was really intrigued, and looked for more information on (where else?) Wikipedia.

I learned that:

Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views from various positions along many streets in the world. Google Street View displays images taken from a fleet of specially adapted cars. Areas not accessible by car, like pedestrian areas, narrow streets, alleys and ski resorts, are sometimes covered by Google Trikes (tricycles) or snowmobiles (!!). On each of these vehicles there are nine directional cameras for 360° views. Privacy advocates have objected to this Google feature, Google maintains that the photos were taken from public property.”

I would LOVE to see one of these panoramic cameras being peddled down a street attached to a tricycle!!!!!!

Anyway, Wikipedia offers this collection of images, take on St. John’s Street in Manchester, England – showing a sample of the 9 angles that the camera captures at the same time in the same place:

I imagine, in the near future, you might enter “610 10th Avenue” (the address of our friendly neighborhood wine store) and up may come a picture at that street corner with me taking a picture of the Google Camera taking a picture of me…

It’s invading my privacy while I am invading its privacy – I love it!

Please let me know if you see me.




2 Responses to ““Google Street View” – Did You Ever Wonder How It Works?”

  1. Johnny D July 26, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    Very interesting! That Google camera is fascinating. From a distance, it kind of looks like a big red soccer ball.

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