Thứ Năm, 23 tháng 3, 2017

Animating New York's Building Boom With Google Street View

Google Street View creates what feels like a seamless (if pixelated) tour of city streets, and it's one that you could wander through all day if you had the patience to keep clicking. Virtually walk down any road, though, you may notice that sometimes the weather changes, or the seasons do.

Street View knits together a simultaneous patchwork of images taken at different times, and that means the site offers a quirky visual history of evolving neighborhoods – if, that is, you know exactly where to look.

Justin Blinder, an artist, programmer, and designer based in Brooklyn, stumbled across several of these wrinkles in Google Street View time while searching for ways to visualize how the city had changed under Michael Bloomberg, for a collaborative art project called Envision New York 2017.

"The two prominent elements for me of the Bloomberg Administration seemed to be one, the opening of city data," Blinder says, "and the other was this generally perceived accelerated gentrification."

He wanted to use the one to narrate the other. So he pulled up the city's recently released PLUTO dataset of property parcels, searched for those developments that were only a few years old, then went looking for their addresses in Street View.

"I immediately started seeing that most of the locations were actually vacant lots," Blinder says. The Google car hadn't driven by since the new luxury condos or office buildings or mid-rise rentals had gone up.

Because of how Google documents streets, though, one intersection may be viewed from multiple angles captured at different moments in time. Maybe a Google car passed down India Street in Brooklyn two years ago. Then another car came down McGuinness Boulevard earlier this winter. Stand at the intersection of those two roads, and the scenes change dramatically.

"You’ll realize that they were taken at two completely different times," Blinder says, "and sometimes the delta between those times is so great that it actually spans the development of an entire building."

As it turns out, a GIF may be the perfect medium to capture how it feels when new buildings seemingly pop up in your neighborhood overnight (Blinder, though, leaves it to the viewer to decide if this is gentrification in motion).

Blinder went back to the PLUTO dataset specifically looking for other recent corner-lot developments that might be viewed this same way

Blinder has come to look at Google Street View images of city streets as a kind of database of information. Google Street View itself isn't all that old (and older images as Google updates them aren't publicly archived anywhere online). But his project suggests that the mapping giant's Street View cars may be inadvertently documenting all kinds of processes of urban change.

Thứ Năm, 16 tháng 3, 2017

Google Street View Offers Cobb Businesses Virtual Tour Technology

The virtual tour technology will be showcased at area firms on March 24 and 25.

COBB COUNTY, GA -- Cobb County businesses will be able to show 360-degree panoramic views of their interiors online in a new partnership between the county's Chamber of Commerce and Google Street View, Patch has learned.
The virtual tour technology will be showcased at area businesses on March 24 and 25.
Having virtual tour-capability attached to an online business has an added benefit: It helps the firm's Google Maps and Search rankings.
To get the virtual tour footage, Google Street View sends a professional team out to take high-resolution panoramic images. The team then publishes the photos directly into the Google business listing. They also provide a copy of the images to the business to post on social media or their respective websites.
The chamber met with the Google Street View team last month, enlisting several area entities -- including Life University, Capital Cadillac, Bells Ferry Learning Center, West Cobb Church and others -- into a dry run.
       Image via Google Street View

Thứ Năm, 9 tháng 3, 2017

Google Street View Alternatives

Other Options For Nosing Around
Google has cornered the market in street-level photographic mapping, but are there other alternatives?
Google Street View was first introduced to the world all the way back in 2007, with a limited number of American cities, but with a Sergey Brin-driven dream that one day they’d map the entire world at street level , you can now go on virtual tours of exciting far-flung places that you may otherwise never have the chance to see.
The 360° view of the world is now built in to Google Maps and Google Earth, both on desktop computers and the Android smartphone platform, and used daily by millions of people to pin-point locations they’re planning on visiting, or to simply have a closer look at famous places of interest.Most of the UK was mapped by the end of 2009, though the question is that, if you actively choose not to use Google’s services, are there any other sable options available?            
Microsoft Bing Maps
Launched in December 2009, Microsoft’s alternative to Street View - named Streetside - was tied in to the 2010 Winter Olympics and started with imagery of British Columbia, before slowely making its way across America, and eventually Europe in 2012.
Streetside works in much the same way in most major cities throughout the UK, but with more limited coverage than Google’s blanket offering, there’s still no street level imagery in smaller towns and the countryside.
Navigating the street-level imagery is straightforward and quite similar to Google’s system, and whilst some images suffer from less visual artefacting than Street View, images are generally of a slightly lower quality, especially if you zoom in.

Nokia HERE Maps

Based on technology originally developed by Chicago-based mapping company NAVTEQ, Nokia’s mapping service has gone through a number of evolutions on its way to becoming what is now known as HERE maps.
Back in 2011, Earthmine would have featured on this list alongside Bing and HERE, where it not for Nokia buying them out in 2012 and amalgamating their mapping technology. HERE’s street-level imagery is now simply referred to as street-level mapping, and uses a combination of image sources, which is sometimes identical to Microsoft’s Bing maps, and other times completely different.
Because of the variation in mapping sources, image quality does vary between areas, and it suffers the same coverage black-spots as Microsoft’s Streestside imagery, leaving it again some way behind Google’s Street View service.

The final alternative we were able to track down is a little different, and comes in the form of sporadic user-captured photographs that are tagged in on a map with their location. It’s a far cry from Street View, but gives some great views from a whole host of locations around the UK, and the world.
As you’d expect with any service that relies on its users to submit content, photographs are few and far between, and really only London has a useful amount of photos in its library.
You can easily tell where more active users are located, as there’s a rash of photographs concentrated in certain areas, but really OpenStreetView is more of a bit of fun than any worthwhile competitor to Google Street View. In many ways its closer to (the far more populated) ‘Panoramio’ - which is built in to Google Maps - than Street View itself.
If you’ve got a Windows phone from Nokia or one of the other few proponents of Microsoft’s mobile OS, then HERE Maps and Bing Maps are worthy alternatives to Google Street View, but only really if you live in one of the larger cities throughout the UK. For everyone else, nothing comes close to the almost blanket coverage that Google’s service provides, and we can’t see that changing any time soon.