Dan Hume's Blog

Street View (Google Maps)
October 21, 2010, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Future Cinema, General

I feel our idea for this project relates to street view on google maps. This is where you can now have a virtual view of streets online. The main reason I can relate to this piece is because of the 360° environment that is captured through photographs and the interactivity when scrolling with the mouse. You can literally explore a town or village online by moving your mouse forward on the screen. In our project the same principle is occurring. The user moves towards the screen; therefore triggering off the sensors, which makes the image in front move as well.

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. It was launched on May 25, 2007, originally only in several cities in the United States, and has since gradually expanded to include more cities and rural areas worldwide.

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 a snowmobile. On each of these vehicles there are nine directional cameras for 360° views at a height of about 2.5 meters,GPS units for positioning and three laser range scanners for the measuring of up to 50 meters 180° in the front of the vehicle. There are also 3G/GSM/Wi-Fi antennas for scanning 3G/GSM and Wi-Fi hotspots. Recently, ‘high quality’ images are based on open source hardware cameras from Elphel.

Where available, street view images appear after zooming in beyond the highest zooming level in maps and satellite images, and also by dragging a “pegman” icon onto a location on a map. Using the keyboard or mouse the horizontal and vertical viewing direction and the zoom level can be selected. A solid or broken line in the photo shows the approximate path followed by the camera car, and arrows link to the next photo in each direction. At junctions and crossings of camera car routes, more arrows are shown.

On November 21, 2008, Street View was added to the Maps application installed on the Apple iPhone. On December 10, 2008, Street View was added to the Maps application for S60 3rd Edition. Street View has now also been added to theWindows Mobile and BlackBerry versions of Google Maps. All versions of Google Maps for the Android OS features Street View, and the digital compass can be used to look around the locations.

Cameras Used

Google has used three types of car-mounted cameras in the past to take Street View photographs. Generations 1-3 were used to take photographs in the United States. The first generation was quickly 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 4th 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.

In October 2009, Google introduced the Street View Trike, a pedal tricycle with a 4th generation camera mounted to take images where cars cannot reach. All streetview images taken now will be taken with the 4th Generation streetview 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.

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