Friday, March 27, 2009
Street View Comes to GJ
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Google Maps has a very interesting feature called Street View. This feature enables the user to get a 360-degree panoramic street-level view of a map location, simply by clicking and dragging an icon onto the map. If Google has photographed and posted the area in question, the Street View will appear. This view is adjustable in scale, direction, and viewing angle, like the example above. Clicking on the arrows in the white 'center line' that follows each street will move you to the next image in that direction.
I'm not sure how long the Grand Junction area has been included in Street View, but I have checked periodically in the past and there was no coverage. Now these types of views are available for pretty much every public road in the Grand Valley, all the way to Mack.
Outside the valley the main roads are covered, but most side roads have yet to be photographed. For example, I-70, the frontage roads and 45 1/2 Road, AKA the 'DeBeque Cutoff', are included but Roan Creek Road and the entire Town of DeBeque are not.
Judging from the position of the sun in the sky, the amount of construction completed at the new St. Mary's Hospital, what people in the street are wearing, and the price of gas, I'm guessing that the majority of the pictures were taken in late summer and early autumn of last year. My son's car shows as parked in front of my house and at his friend's house, which seems to show the pictures were taken on different days with the sun at a position in the sky to minimize shadows.
Google apparently unveiled the service in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands last week, but in Britain the arrival has been met with significant concern and opposition from privacy advocates. Seems that some folks over there have been photographed in places and with people that could potentially be embarrassing. Fortunately, Google has been quick to respond to complaints by removing photos that they have received complaints about.
Since its' inception, there have been numerous media stories and blogs that illustrate some of the quirky and unusual things that the little black cars with big panoramic cameras on top have captured as they drive through cities small and large. A good introductory collection is here.
I'm personally finding some of the local vistas, and their simple beauty, more intriguing than some of the routine city views, especially with the 360-degree perspective. One example is below; the State Line marker along US Highway 6 and 50, about 26 miles west of where I live.
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Have a good weekend.