GOOGLE STREET VIEW REACHES NEW HEIGHTS

Google Street View has radically altered the way that people look up locations all around the world since its initial launch in May, 2007.   This technology has allowed users to easily see high quality images of buildings and areas by simply typing in the address.  The enormous task of driving around the world filming and organizing this data is astronomical in scale, and the capturing work continues to this day.

Some things are easier to capture for Google Street View than others.  Recently, Google came up with a way to capture the water-filled alleys of Venice which had been on hold since the initial launch.  There is no way to drive the camera car through the water in Venice, so Google decided to tackle this job by foot.  This past April, two employees were sent on their mission to capture Venice with a 4 foot tall backpack and camera strapped to each of their backs.  The camera hangs up above the head of the person wearing it, and the 15-angle lenses of the cameras take a picture every 2.5 seconds.  These photographs can subsequently be merged to create a full 360 degree view.  Google has been quoted as saying that finally coming up with a way to capture Venice for their Street View is “a feather in its cap”.  Google plans to expand on this already impressive imagery by photographing Venice from a boat as it moves through the canals of the city.  This endeavor is being called the “Google gondola”.  The images are not yet available, but should be online by the end of 2013.

The complexities involved in capturing the entire world for Google Street View continue to unfold as new projects begin.  A few weeks ago, Google introduced Street View imagery for the largest building in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.  Following this impressive feat, Google has just introduced 360-degree Street View imagery of all parts of the main floors of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  Google has further expanded the Eiffel Tower project to create several online exhibitions that tell the fascinating story of the development and impact of the famous Paris landmark.  These exhibitions include archival images that show the original development plans and other historical details about the tower.

Google has been expanding the reach of Street View over the first half of this year and there are no plans to slow down.  Some of the many incredible new projects include underwater photography in the Great Barrier Reef region, the breathtaking Grand Canyon and a large number of canals, zoos, ski slopes and isolated islands throughout the world.  Impressively, Google has added just under 1,000 new Street View locations over the past month throughout North America, Asia, Latin America and Europe.

Every time that Google captures a new, exotic location for its Street View, a new sense of excitement is created for the possibilities in the future.   It’s only a matter of time until the entire world has been captured.  What do you think the next exciting location will be?

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