Google Car
Photo:  Cédric Barthez’s Blog – Article: Wikipedia

Google Street View is a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that provides 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic views from a row of positions along the street (one every approximately 10 or 20 metres) for many streets in the world, from a height of about 2.5 metres. It was launched on May 25, 2007, and has gradually expanded to include more cities, and in these cities more streets, and also some rural areas.[1]

Google Streets

These photographs are currently available for the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. Coverage is shown by dragging a “pegman” icon from its position, onto a map of any scale.

Google Street View displays scans taken from a fleet of Chevrolet Cobalts in North America, Opel Astras in Europe, Holden Astras in Australia and New Zealand, Toyota Prius cars in Japan, Fiat Stilos in Brazil, Toyota Yarises in South Africa [2] and Pontiac G5s in Mexico.[3] Pedestrian areas, narrow streets and park alleys that cannot be accessed by car are not always covered. However, sometimes Google Trikes (tricycles) are used.[4] On each of these cars (and tricycles) there are nine directional cameras for the 360° views, GPS units for positioning, three laser range scanners, manufactured by SICK, for the measuring of up to 50 meters 180° in the front of the vehicle. On the cars there are also 3G/GSM/Wi-Fi antennas for scanning 3G/GSM and Wi-Fi hotspots.[5] Recently, ‘high quality’ images (higher quality than the first) are based on open source hardware cameras from Elphel. These cameras are also used by Google book search.[6]

Where available, street view images appear after zooming in beyond the highest zooming level in maps and satellite images, and also by dragging a “pegman” icon onto a location on a map. Using the keyboard or mouse the horizontal and vertical viewing direction and the zoom level can be selected. A straight or broken line in the photo shows the approximate path followed by the camera car, and arrows link to the next photo in each direction. At junctions and crossings of camera car routes, more arrows are shown.

On November 21, 2008, Street View was added to the Maps application installed on the Apple iPhone and Apple iPod Touch . On December 10, 2008, Street View was added to the Maps application for S60 3rd Edition. Street View has now also been added to the Windows Mobile and BlackBerry versions of Google Maps. All versions of Google Maps for Android feature Street View, and the digital compass can be used to look around the locations.

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