Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to Use Google Street View

Google Street View is a feature of Google Maps on the web. Literally it is a 360 degree photo taken from a vehicle while going down streets. Google has a fleet of vehicles traveling the US and the world taking 360 degree pictures from a fancy, roof-top mounted camera(see photo below), every few seconds and making it part of their maps. Google Street View can be found on using any browser.

Google's fleet of vehicles is working to cover highways, bi-ways and streets around the world. Here is how Google does this. I found an interesting article by Leslie Larson on Mail Online, October 13, 2012, entitled Secrets of a Google Street View Car Driver.

I won't be getting into any philosophical or privacy issues in this article. I simply want to show how Street View can be a terrific help when following Google Map directions. If you have concerns about privacy and what Google has been doing to mitigate those concerns, please read the articles on the subject at the bottom.

Here is how Street View can add value to directions. Many people use landmarks when remembering how to get somewhere. For example, turn left at the gas station, then right at the house with the blue roof. Maps are good, navigation systems also good, but landmarks add an additional level of comfort when trying to find a new place. Therefore, when using Google Maps and their directions, use Street View along the way to take in a few landmarks.

Street View is found on the Google Maps page by clicking on the "Peg Man" and dragging it to a place on the map. Then move yourself up and down the street, turning left or right to see where you plan to go. Here are detailed directions for using Google Street View.


Once in a Street View window you can turn by clicking on the picture and holding down on the mouse button, and then move to the left or right. Look around you as if you were there. Note your landmark and move to the next location on the map. The Street View photo could have been taken last week or even more than a year ago. No one really knows for sure.

Turn Right at the Chevron Station

Turn Left at the 7-Eleven

Once you have a few landmarks, you are all set to have a more comfortable and anxiety free journey to your destination. Give Street View a try.

I have heard from some folks who use Google Earth for the same effect. Google Earth pictures are from a satellite while Google Street View pictures are from the road.

Please share other ways you have discovered using Google Street View.


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