Google Street View
A road junction in Manchester, England, showing nine angles.
|Initial release||May 25, 2007|
|Stable release||Release 124 (see list) / August 20, 2014
|Available in||Multiple languages|
|Website||Google Street View|
Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views from positions along many streets in the world. It was launched in 2007 in several cities in the United States, and has since expanded to include cities and rural areas worldwide.
Google Street View displays panoramas of stitched images. Most photography is done by car, but some is done tricycle On each of these vehicles there are nine directional cameras for 360° views at a height of 2.5–3.0 meters (8.2–9.8 feet), GPS units for positioning and three laser range scanners from Sick AG for the measuring of up to 50 meters 180° in the front of the vehicle. These are used for recording a rough 3D model of the surroundings, enabling faux-3D transitions between distinct panoramas where the environment images are momentarily mapped onto this 3D model while being crossfaded to create an animated perspective change as the user travels from one panorama to another. There are also 3G/GSM/Wi-Fi antennas for scanning 3G/GSM and Wi-Fi hotspots. More recently, high quality images have been based on open source hardware cameras from Elphel.
- 1 History of the application
- 2 Features
- 3 Coverage
- 4 Cameras
- 5 Privacy issues
- 6 Artistic uses of images
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
History of the application
- 2007: Launched on 25 May in the United Sates using Immersive Media technology.
- 2008: In May Google announces that it was testing face-blurring technology on its photos of the busy streets of Manhattan. The technology uses a computer algorithm to search Google's image database for faces and blurs them.. Street View integrated into Google Earth 4.3, the Maps application on the Apple iPhone, and the Maps application for S60 3rd Edition. In November "pegman" is introduced. If this is dropped on the map the Street View opens and takes over the whole map window.
- 2009: introduction of full-screen option. Smart Navigation introduced allowing users to navigate around the panoramas by double-clicking with their cursor on any place or object they want to see.
- 2010: indoor views of businesses available. Google invites users to contribute panoramas of their own using gadgets with Android 4.2. Google highlights user-contributed panoramas with blue circle icons on Maps. The company also created a website to highlight places in the world where one can find them.
- Streets with Street View imagery available are shown as blue lines on Google Maps.
- Business interior views are shown as small orange circles. Businesses such as shops, cafes and other premises can pay a photographer to take panoramic images of the interior of their premises which are then included in Street View.
- User-contributed panoramas are shown as small blue circles.
- Past Street View images of the same location may be browsed with a timeline tool to observe a location's change over time. When this happens, the Pegman turns into Back to the Future's Doc Brown.
Google Street View was introduced in the United States on May 25, 2007, and only covered areas of the United States until July 2, 2008. Images can now be seen in 48 countries, dependencies, and autonomous regions (although parts of other countries and dependencies can be seen from locations located near national borders; for example, large portions of Vatican City can be viewed from Rome's street view). Introductions have generally occurred every 2 days to 100 days. Until November 26, 2008, major cities (and early on, the only cities) were marked by camera icons, more of which were added each time. Then, all camera icons were discontinued in favor simply of "blue" coverage, while other features have been added to make access to and use of the feature more user-friendly.
On June 6, 2012, Google announced that it has captured 20 petabytes of data for Street View, comprising photos taken along 5 million miles of roads, covering 39 countries and about 3,000 cities.
Below is a table showing the countries available on Street View and the year they were first added. Plain text indicates that a country has only views of certain businesses and/or tourist attractions.
|Country or territory||Year added||Notes|
|Åland Islands||2010||First semi-autonomous region available on Street View.|
|Antarctica||2010||While in Antarctica, the Pegman is shown as a Chinstrap Penguin.|
|Argentina||2013||Mountain landmarks views only|
|Australia||2008||Added on the same day as Japan; first country available in Oceania. On August 4, 2008, 28 icons of major metropolitan areas were added.|
|Austria||2012||Only Museum views and ski resorts|
|Brazil||2010||First country available in South America.|
|British Indian Ocean Territory||2013||Views of Peros Banhos.|
|Cambodia||2014||Most recent country added|
|China||2013||Currently cover Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and museum views only.|
|Colombia||2013||Fourth country in South America available.|
|Ecuador||2013||Portions of Galápagos Islands only|
|France||2008||Added on the same day as Italy, one of the first two countries available in Europe. Providing the first service outside the United States and the debut of Google's new 4th Generation Cameras.|
|Hong Kong||2010||First place with Street View in mainland Asia, along with Macau.|
|India||2012||Business views in major cities and many landmarks|
|Indonesia||2014||Most recent country added|
|Iraq||2011||Museum views only.|
|Isle of Man||2011|
|Israel||2012||First place with Street View in the Middle East.|
|Italy||2008||Added on the same day as France, one of the first two countries available in Europe.|
|Japan||2008||First country available in Asia. Added on the same day as Australia.|
|Luxembourg||2013||Museum view only.|
|Macau||2010||First place with Street View in mainland Asia, along with Hong Kong.|
|Malaysia||2013||Currently covering park and tourist attraction region|
|Martinique||2013||First available territory in the Caribbean|
|Mexico||2009||First Latin American country to be added to Google Street View.|
|Midway Islands||2012||First American overseas territory available|
|Nepal||2012||Mountain landmarks views only|
|New Zealand||2008||On December 1, 2008, New Zealand was added to Google Street View. Faces were blurred upon recommendation by the New Zealand Privacy Commission.|
|Peru||2013||Third country in South America available|
|Philippines||2012||Views of ocean floor near Apo Island and some part of Intramuros only|
|Qatar||2012||Museum views only.|
|Russia||2011||Museum view only until 2012|
|Singapore||2009||First Southeast Asian country available.|
|South Africa||2010||First country available in Africa.|
|Tanzania||2013||Mountain landmarks views only|
|United Arab Emirates||2013||Burj Khalifa and other landmarks.|
|United States||2007||First country available to view on Street View.|
The United States was the first country to have Street View images and was the only country with images for over a year following introduction. Early on, most locations had a limited number of views, usually constrained to the city limits and only including major streets. Few suburbs or other nearby cities were included. After the first few sets of introductions, image collections from cities added were more detailed, often including every side street, more suburbs and nearby cities.
In Canada, Google Street View cars had been spotted as early as September 2007, in Montreal, though service for Canada was delayed while attempting to settle with the Canadian government over its privacy laws. The first images of Canada were made available on October 7, 2009. Currently, most of Canada can be seen on Street View with the notable exceptions of Labrador and the Gaspé Peninsula.
On February 10, 2010, many more areas of Canada (barring extremely northern and rural areas) were added. Ski runs on Whistler Blackcomb Resort were also covered in this update. As of November 28, 2012, the northernmost community currently imaged is Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and the second northernmost place in North America, after Deadhorse Airport near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
In Mexico, first reports of sightings came in from Tijuana as early as July 2007 and now Google Street View cars are being spotted in many Mexican states. On November 9, 2009, Street View was made available in the main cities of Mexico, including Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Cancún and Puerto Vallarta.
- Martinique. Some views taken during walk.
Mexico was the first country in Latin America to be covered by Street View, in 2009 and were followed by Brazil in 2010. As of 2013, Street View is also available in Chile, Colombia, Peru and small parts of Ecuador. Argentina is scheduled to be added to the service in 2014.
In Europe, coverage is available in 25 countries, of which 17 have complete or near-complete coverage. Coverage began in Europe on July 2, 2008, with the Tour de France route in parts of France and Italy, and other parts followed.
On August 4, 2008, the image collection of Australia was introduced. Extensive digital mapping of New Zealand was included on December 1, 2008.
- Views of Half Moon Island in the South Shetland Islands, were added September 2010.
- Ceremonial South Pole, Shackleton's Hut, Discovery Hut, added July 2012.
- Cape Royds, Castle Rock Loop Trail, WISSARD Test Site, Arena Valley, Lake Bonney, McMurdo Station, Taylor Valley, Bull Pass, Wright Valley, added December 2013.
Below is list of the countries that do not currently have official coverage where Street View vehicles are currently driving, where Street View is officially planned, or have reported by media to be driving:
|Continent||Countries and regions listed on Google's site
or officially announced
|Countries reported in media or unofficially announced|
|South America||Argentina (public streets)|
In October 2010, Google Street View ceased operations in Australia, following months of investigations from Australian authorities. However, this cessation has since ended, with Google announcing plans to continue production on May 4, 2011 and subsequently releasing updated Street View imagery for Australian towns and cities on July 27, 2011.
In April 2011, Google decided to stop taking Street View images in Germany.
In June 2011, Google decided to temporarily stop taking street images in India, after receiving a letter from the local authorities.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2011)|
Google has used three types of car-mounted cameras to take Street View photographs. Generations 1–3 were used to take photographs in the United States. The first generation was superseded and images were replaced with images taken with 2nd and 3rd generation cameras. Second generation cameras were used to take photographs in Australia. The shadows caused by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation cameras are occasionally viewable in images taken in mornings and evenings. The new 4th generation cameras will be used to completely replace all images taken with earlier generation cameras. 4th generation cameras take near-HD images and deliver much better quality than earlier cameras. Even though 4th generation cameras were in use as early as April 2008, Google used older cameras for many areas as late as October 2009 for Street View and as late as September 2010 for Museum View.
In October 2008, Google introduced the Street View Trike, a pedal tricycle with a 4th generation camera mounted to take images where cars cannot reach, including footpaths and dirt tracks. The 250-pound, 9-foot long tricycles are piloted by athletes. All Street View images taken now will be taken with the 4th generation Street View cameras.
In February 2010, Google introduced the Street View Snowmobile, a snowmobile with a 4th generation camera mounted to take images on the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Slopes in preparation for the winter olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
Camera quality comparison
|Prior low resolution photo (used from April 2007 – September 2010)||New high resolution (HD) photo (used from April 2008 – present)|
The above shows a comparison of different generations of the Street View cameras. The first image was taken with the 2nd generation Street View camera and the second image was taken with the 4th generation camera. The 4th generation camera provides clearer, sharper, and more vivid images than its predecessors. In most of Europe, for example, images were taken with the 4th generation camera as they were taken later. Images taken with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation cameras are gradually being phased out and replaced by images taken with 4th generation cameras. Eventually, all low resolution images will be replaced with HD images.
For most areas on street view, the pegman is shown as a standard yellow figure. Some areas have a modified version for specific areas. For example, in Legoland (California) the pegman is shown as a Lego character, in Hawaii the pegman is a surfboarder, and on Half Moon Island (Antarctica) the pegman is shown as a Chinstrap Penguin. In certain stadiums and sports facilities, the pegman appears with sportswear when dropped in the map, such as in Arthur Ashe Stadium in Corona Park, Queens, NY. When Quest mode is enabled and Maps GL is disabled, the pegman is shown in the style of a video game character, and when dropped on NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the pegman is shown as an astronaut.
Privacy advocates have objected to this Google feature, pointing to views found to show men leaving strip clubs, protesters at an abortion clinic, sunbathers in bikinis, and people engaging in activities visible from public property in which they do not wish to be seen publicly. The concerns have led to several temporary bans of Street View in countries around the world. Google maintains that the photos were taken from public property; however, an individual taking pictures of private property using a ladder to gain a view not normally available to a pedestrian would be prosecuted for invasion of privacy or harassment in many jurisdictions worldwide. Google has yet to address this concern. The service also allows users themselves to flag inappropriate or sensitive imagery for Google to review and remove.
In May 2010, it was revealed that Google had collected and stored payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi connections as part of Street View. German authorities are considering legal action while the Foreign Minister said "I will do all I can to prevent it." Australian police have also been ordered to investigate.
Artistic uses of images
Fine-art photographers including Mishka Henner, Nick Mason, Aaron Hobson, Jon Rafman, Doug Rickard, and Michael Wolf have selected Google Street View images for use in their own work. Although the images may be pixelated, the colours "muddy", and the perspective "warped", the photographs have been published in book form and exhibited in art galleries. Wolf won an honourable mention in Daily Life in the 2011 World Press Photo competition for some of his work using Google Street View. Mishka Henner is short-listed for the 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in November 2012 for his series, 'No Man's Land', which depicts sex workers at rural roadside locations. Swedish programmer Anton Wallén developed a game called GeoGuessr, which places players into a Google Street View and has them guess its location.
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- "Google Street View car spotted in Guernsey and Alderney". BBC. August 12, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
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- "India IT hub orders Google to suspend Street View service – International Business Times". Hken.ibtimes.com. June 21, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2011.[dead link]
- Andrews, Robert (18 May 2009). "Meet Google Street View's latest weapon: a tricycle". The Guardian (London).
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- "Street View Snowmobile". Google. August 4, 1961. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- "Elphel Cameras used for Street View". Google. August 4, 1961. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
- "Who is Pegman?". Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
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- "Privacy and Security – About – Google Maps". Google.com. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- Rickard, Doug (2010). A New American Picture. Köln: White Press. OCLC 727797183.
- "The street views Google wasn't expecting you to see – in pictures". The Guardian (London). February 20, 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- Laurent, Olivier (February 11, 2011). "World Press Photo: Is Google Street View Photojournalism?". British Journal of Photography.
- Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. Accessed 15 March 2013
- Hartnett, Kevin (May 17, 2013). "If dropped randomly on earth, would you know where you were?". The Boston Globe (Boston). Retrieved May 20, 2013.
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