Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views from various positions along many streets in the world. It was launched on May 25, 2007, originally only in several cities in the United States, and has since gradually expanded to include more cities and rural areas worldwide.
Google Street View displays images taken from a fleet of specially adapted cars. Areas not accessible by car, like pedestrian areas, narrow streets, alleys and ski resorts, are sometimes covered by Google Trikes (tricycles) or a snowmobile. On each of these vehicles there are nine directional cameras for 360° views at a height of about 2.5 meters, GPS units for positioning and three laser range scanners for the measuring of up to 50 meters 180° in the front of the vehicle. There are also 3G/GSM/Wi-Fi antennas for scanning 3G/GSM and Wi-Fi hotspots. Recently, ‘high quality’ images (higher quality than the first) are based on open source hardware cameras from Elphel.
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 solid 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 the Android OS features Street View, and the digital compass can be used to look around the locations.
Go to www.google.co.za/streetview and explore all it has to offer!