Google Street View has unveiled a new tool that will let users build their own Street View image collections from their own photographs.
The new “Create Your Own Street View” capability was announced by Evan Rapoport, product manager for Google Maps and Photo Sphere, in a Dec. 9 post on the Google Lat Long Blog.
“Have you ever tried to convey the feeling of walking through your favorite park?” wrote Rapoport. “Or have you wanted to create a virtual tour of your business to attract customers? Well, starting today, it’s now possible for you to build your own Street View experiences to do just that. Using a new feature in our Views community, you can easily connect your photo spheres to create 360-degree virtual tours of the places you love, then share them with the world on Google Maps.”
The new tool essentially allows users to select their own images, which are then assembled so that they look like “constellations” of images. The next step is to use the new Street View tool to bring the project together, wrote Rapoport. Users can even connect their own photos to Google’s own Street View panoramas, he wrote.
Users can capture their images with an Android phone or digital SLR camera, and then share them on Google Views. “Once your photo spheres are connected and published, people can navigate between them on Google Maps, just like they can in Street View,” wrote Rapoport.
“We are excited to see the different types of Street View experiences that everyone will contribute,” he wrote. “For example, this feature can now enable environmental nonprofits to document and promote the beautiful places they strive to protect. It also opens up a new tool for photographers to showcase diversity in a specific location—by times of day, weather conditions or cultural events—in a way that Street View currently doesn’t cover.”
Users can also embed the interactive viewer on their Websites or build applications with it using the Google Maps API, wrote Rapoport. “We hope this new feature will enable people to share and witness the beauty and breadth of our planet through Google Maps. Whether you’re photographing exotic islands or your favorite neighborhood hangout, mountain peaks or city streets, historic castles or your own business, we’re thrilled to see the places you love coming to life on Google Maps.”
Google’s Street View image collection has been growing regularly since its debut in 2007.
Earlier in December, Street View released images of Venice, Italy, with its canals, water and beautiful and historic architecture, as part of its always expanding image collection. The images throughout Venice were captured by a team of Google workers using the company’s special Trekker backpack cameras, which collect many individual images of subjects that are then assembled into 360-degree images. The Venice images covered about 265 miles on foot and about 114 miles by boat.
Because of the city’s many picturesque canals and narrow walkways, the Street View team couldn’t use a traditional motorized vehicle or a pedal-powered trike to capture the images in Venice. Instead, they had to walk the streets and float in the city’s famous gondolas to capture their images.
Google Street View Invites Users to Create Their Own Street View Collection
The Street View team even put together a behind-the-scenes look showing how they captured the Street View imagery in Venice, despite the complications of the canals and narrow walkways.
In October, Street View cameras began capturing the emotional power of thousands of military graves at Virginia’s Arlington National Cemetery, as well as the first-ever Street View images from Africa’s Swaziland. The Arlington project is being conducted by Google photographers who are walking through the honored cemetery area by area, equipped with one of the special panoramic Google Trekker cameras mounted on a backpack. The project is slated for completion by May 2014, just before Arlington National Cemetery will commemorate its 150th anniversary. Literally millions of photographs are being collected.
The images being captured in the African nation of Swaziland will illustrate the fourth African nation to be featured in Street View, according to Google.
In August, Street View released images of some of the world’s most spectacular zoos and wildlife parks so that online viewers can see a wide assortment of wild animals from around the world right on their own computers and mobile devices. Using Street View, online visitors can now see panda bears eating bamboo plants and tumbling around the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, where more than 30 percent of this endangered species lives in a conservation and breeding facility. The new Street View images also include other animal parks around the world, including the San Diego Zoo, as well as zoos in Houston, Atlanta and Chicago in North America.
In July, Google Street View cameras captured fun images inside the Harry Potter Studio in London to give viewers an inside tour of the world of the popular book and movie character. The images cover a portion of the inner sanctum of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, where the sets and scenery from the beloved Harry Potter films are on display for visitors in real life, from the inside of The Great Hall to the oft-seen cobblestones of Diagon Alley, where Harry and his friends began their adventures. Now, instead of jetting off to London, Harry Potter fans can explore part of that Studio Tour—the infamous Diagon Alley marketplace—using the 360-degree views and full-color imagery provided by Street View for their virtual tour.