Recently while out riding I spotted a Google Maps Street View car driving around obviously capturing images of the streets and off to the sides as he drove using the many cameras mounted on top. It is the first time I have actually seen one of these cars in person. As I rode my trike down the street along with a friend who was riding his DF bike the Google car turned a corner and started down the same street we were on. We passed each other so I can only assume it is just a matter of time before our images will be available to see on Google Maps Street View. I read that they blur the faces of those captured in their pictures.
Seeing this car got me to thinking about how often I use Google Maps including street view. I use it for personal stuff, but I also use it a lot in connection to my trike riding. I find it to be an extremely handy tool. For those who have never used it here is a video instructing and showing how to do so.
Some folks get their kicks following these cars around … something which is not appreciated and understandably so. I find the camera car intriguing so I decided to see what I could find concerning it. Here is a video on them.
Google’s “Dream Team”
Google uses other means to go places where their cars can’t go. The above shows 3 of those means. Most photography is done by car, but some is done by trekker, tricycle, boat, snowmobile, camel, and underwater apparatus.
The “trekker” is where a person walking on foot carries a similar rig strapped to their back.
Here is a video which is quite informative about the trekker setup and how it is used as well as many other means Google has used to get their pictures.
As you can see a trike was placed on a boat to capture images from the water.
Although the street view is not available all over the world the regular maps and satellite images are to varying degrees. Again, it is my understanding that certain areas either can’t be shown at all or can’t be shown in detail and/or zooming in is not allowed. Sensitive areas are blurred as required by law.
Here are the 15 cameras presently used in their setup. In addition to these cameras there are also laser sensors to detect buildings, etc. for their 3 D images.
As these vehicles travel the world they have captured some very interesting things in still images. Some things are funny while other things are embarrassing. Various criminal activities have been photographed and some arrests have been made as a result. As you can probably imagine the drivers of these vehicles have encountered some interesting situations and behavior including having guns pointed at them as they drove by. Here is a sampling of some of the stuff the cameras capture.
One popular video is a commercial about an embarrassing moment caught on Google Map Street View cameras.
You can read about Google Street View HERE. There is some interesting reading as to some of the technology which is on board these cars and what they may be up to in addition to taking the pictures.
Speaking of the Street View feature I was riding down one of the streets in my area along with a friend when a Gogle Street View Camera car drove past us from the opposite direction. It took awhile but the images taken were eventually available when Google updated their images of that area. Here is a captured screenshot of that moment.
There is a game of sorts I used to participate in where you see a street view image without being told where it is. It could be anywhere in the world and the person is supposed to figure out where the location is. I did pretty good at it. I usually could figure it out. It was both fun and challenging.
Getting back to tadpole trike riding and Google Maps … I mentioned that I find them a very handy tool which I have used numerous times. I have checked out trails, routes, areas, restaurants, access points, etc. of places I intended to ride. I have looked at areas adjacent to the trails I ride to get a better idea of what is there. I have checked out rails far away from me to see what they are like. I have looked up places where other trike riders live and/or the area where they ride. I have used the various features to learn what an area is like I need to go to so that I will know where I need to go and how to go about getting there before I attempt it. The satellite images and street views are most helpful in this. I have used the satellite images and street views to create an image I then can edit and add to it showing various things to others to help them understand something I am telling them about. I have done this on this blog many times.
Here is a place I would love to ride my tadpole trike. In doing so I would be along the very same street the Lord Jesus walked when He was here on earth. This is said to be the route He took as He struggled with the heavy wooden cross carrying it to the place where He was crucified on that cross for your sin as well as mine as He carried out the plan for salvation for you and I. You can read more about it HERE.
I have ridden down streets and trails using Google Maps … although it was a ride in “virtual mode”. In doing so, I have been places I most likely will never be able to ever actually get to in real life. There are just a lot of great aspects of modern technology we have available to us nowadays. I for one am very thankful for such technology. I just hope they never catch me on camera “relieving myself” alongside the road or trail.