Google Now Crowdsourcing Street View with a Trike

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-10-17 Print this article Print

Google is already letting users model buildings in Google Earth, point out gaps in its Google Maps coverage and alert fellow roadsters to traffic workarounds for Google Maps for Mobile.

So it comes as no surprise that the search engine giant is letting users suggest parks, college campuses, malls, zoos, landmarks and other points of interest that aren't accessible via the Google Street View car for the Google Street View trike.

Seriously. Google engineer Dan Ratner has strapped a camera to a tricycle and has been tooling around the Santa Monica Pier, San Diego State University and LegoLand California, taking pictures for Google Maps. Ratner explained:

My day job is working as a mechanical engineer on the Street View team, but I do a lot of mountain biking in my spare time. One day, while exploring some roads less traveled, I realized that I could combine these two pursuits and build a bicycle-based camera system for Street View.

Check out this video of how he does it:

God, that looks fun -- in the same way that it looked fun when Forrest Gump ran across country, but to each his own.

Some go to the gym, lift weights and take yoga. Some take trike treks and take photographs to be scanned for the world's leading mapping application, but I digress.

The cool thing here you need to be aware of is that with Google Street View trike, Google is continuing its red-hot trend of crowdsourcing Google Maps.

Google is asking users to suggest "exactly where in the U.S. they'd like the trike to go next. Go to this trike site to suggest trails and other places you want the trike to travel and snap photos.

Apparently, this was hot, hot stuff in the U.K., where Google received more than 10,000 nominations and 35,000 votes.

Nominations will be open until Oct. 28, after which Google will look at the submissions and let users cast final votes on a winner from each category for the Street View trike to visit.

For me, the it factor is not the trike approach, but the fact that Google is again appealing to users to help it augment its mapping application. |

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