Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is Your House on Google Street View?

Your house may now be part of the images used in Google Street View, which is a feature of Google Maps. Street View provides 360° panoramic views of streets taken at ground level. When it was launched on May 25, 2007, only five American cities were included. Now, Street View has expanded to thousands of locations, including the Eastside cities of Redmond, Bellevue, and Kirkland.

Judging from the new construction of houses on NE 51st St, the Redmond photos in Street View were taken in Summer 2008.

Google Street View: Houses on NE 51st St. in Redmond

How to Use Street View
Go to Google Maps, and enter an address, such as the one for the El Toreador restaurant in downtown Redmond:

Google Maps: search box

Next, click the Search Maps button. The following popup dialog box appears:

Google Street View: location dialog

To view the map location as a Street View, click the Street view link below the photo in the popup dialog box. This causes Google Maps to switch to Street View mode, and the photo for the location is displayed. It’s the view you’d see if you were standing across the street from the restaurant:

Google Street View: El Toreador restaurant

Once you are in Street View mode, you can use the navigation controls that appear in the upper left of the photo. These controls allow you to turn around and look slightly up and down:

Google Street View: navigation controls
Google Street View: navigation arrowYou can also use the large white arrows on the photo to move along the street. When you click on an arrow, you reset the GPS location and the corresponding photo for the location is displayed. At intersections, additional arrows are displayed, which allow you to move in any direction along a street that is part of Street View.

Lastly, you can change the Street View location by dragging and dropping the orange figure in the lower right of the photo. Only streets outlined in blue are valid Street View locations:

Google Street View: changing the location

Street View Locations in Washington
The following locations are some of the cities and surrounding areas in Washington that have been added to Street View: Bremerton, Everett, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Vancouver.

BTW, uses Google Street View for its property listing photos — this is how I found out that Redmond had been added to Street View.

Click on the following links to view some interesting Street View locations in Washington state:
Redmond City Hall
Redmond Town Center
Microsoft Redmond Campus
Bellevue Square
I-90 Bridge
Volunteer Park, Seattle
Pike Place Public Market, Seattle
Fremont Bridge, Seattle
Union Station, Tacoma
Riverfront Park, Spokane

How Street View is Created
To create the Street View experience, Google combines mapping data with photographic imagery collected by specialized data acquisition companies. To capture the 360° imagery, vehicles crisscross the streets of the target city with multiple-lens cameras mounted on their roofs. These rapid-fire cameras take thousands of high-resolution images per minute. By correlating the imagery data with GPS information, Google stitches together complete panoramic scenes that become Street View.

Google Street View: multiple-lens camera mounted on vehicle

Other Blog Postings on Maps
Here’s a list of other Redmond Library blog postings on maps:
Maps for the City of Redmond
Redmond Town Center: A View from Virtual Earth 3D
Exploring the Skies with the WorldWide Telescope
A bird's eye view of Redmond High School

Redmond Library Board

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