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Google Maps Streetview: The Streetview team travels around the world with these vehicles (gallery)

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Google Maps Streetview: The Streetview team travels around the world with these vehicles (gallery)

The Map Platform Google Maps is very visually stunning: In addition to the satellite photos available around the world and the images uploaded by users, there are also street view shots in more and more countries. Most of the pictures are taken with the classic Street View vehicles, but this is by no means true for all regions, because over the years the team has used a wide variety of vehicles, which we would like to briefly introduce in this article.

The photos for Google Maps Street View have always been taken with 360-degree cameras, automatically combined by the algorithms to form an all-round image and then converted into the virtually accessible environment with numerous other images. In this process, it doesn’t matter what tool or vehicle the camera is on or how it’s moved. In order to cover more and more new areas, Google’s photographers have become very creative in recent years and have already used numerous means of transport. Most of the street view images come from Google vehicles, but Google Maps users have also been able to upload their own images for a long time. For indoor recordings, on the other hand, professional photographers certified by Google are very often used, who take the recordings and convert them into virtually walk-in rooms using special tools and interfaces and upload them to Google Maps. Anyone who has ever taken part in such a recording (it was me) knows that a “simple” 360-degree camera with a tripod is used for this. For many reasons, however, a tripod is hardly suitable for outdoor shots, so the Google Maps Street View team had to develop new solutions and try out alternative vehicles in recent years. The best-known vehicle is of course the classic Street View car, although the vehicle itself is irrelevant, but rather the camera structure on the roof. For this reason, very different car models from different manufacturers and with different stickers are used worldwide, but also nationally. Despite different designs, they are always recognizable as Google vehicles, even if you hide the camera structure. They should be, above all, because other companies also drive through the cities with their camera vehicles and should not be confused with the Street View cars.

Streetview car

The classic vehicle that started it all and that still accounts for the lion’s share of the shots today. Streetview cars are used on all roads that can be driven on by car. In the photo you can see a modern vehicle and design that was only presented last year and collects data on air quality in addition to the pictures. The technology is flexible and has already been built on numerous vehicle models. But it is very easy to recognize both on the imprint and on the camera tower on the roof.

Streetview Trekker

With our Trekker, we can show even more places around the world in Street View—places that no car, trike, trolley, or snowmobile can get to. The Trekker is a backpack with a camera system mounted on top. With it we can take pictures of places that can only be reached on foot via narrow paths or narrow passages. Our first shots with this camera technology came from the rough and rocky terrain of the Grand Canyon in the US state of Arizona.

The Streetview-Trekker was fundamentally revised some time ago and is used wherever vehicles don’t stand a chance. The last known area of ​​use was the walk to the impressive recordings of Kakadu Park in Australia. If you want, you can even borrow this trekker and take pictures yourself. » Lots of information and photos about the backpacks

Streetview trolley

When a group of art-loving Google employees wanted to use Street View technology in museums around the world, we needed to create a system that could easily fit through museum doors and allow us to easily walk around sculptures. For indoor recording, all the necessary equipment had to fit on a smaller stand. The result was a kind of luggage trolley with a camera system mounted on it: the Street View trolley. We used it not only to take pictures for Street View in museums, but also in other buildings such as the White House or in sports stadiums

The trolley is a mixture of a tripod and a moving camera, which is mainly used for indoor recordings in very large buildings.

Streetview snowmobile

We thought it would be fun to take the Street View cameras with us on the slopes. Our team spent several weekends mounting the Street View gear onto a snowmobile using two-by-fours, duct tape and extra hard drives wrapped in ski jackets to protect against the freezing temperatures. The result: Now skiers, snowboarders and snowshoe hikers can explore Whistler Blackcomb Mountain and the rolling, snow-covered terrain of neighboring ski areas.

Where the snowmobile is used probably needs no further explanation. Of course, the Googlers didn’t design a snowmobile, just the universal attachment for the safe and secure stand of the camera technology.

Streetview trike

For cities with narrow streets, we needed a vehicle that was not only manoeuvrable, but could also easily transport the Street View Trekker. So that we can also reach the narrowest streets, our team decided on the Indonesian scooter Selis Robin. May we introduce: the Street View trike! This vehicle has been fitted with an additional mast specifically designed to stabilize the Street View Trekker.

A significantly more space-saving form of the Streetview vehicle. Whenever large distances with narrow paths are to be photographed, the trike is used where the car cannot drive.

dog view

At least for a short stretch, the Streetview team has actually strapped the camera to a dog’s back and taken pictures whose perspective should be new even for the residents of the Hachiko town of Odate and on which the dog’s head is occasionally shown you can see. But it should remain an isolated case. » The dogview images from Odate

Streetview Sheep

Well, that doesn’t come from Google, but it shouldn’t be missing at this point: The Faroe Islands had started their own Sheepview and simply strapped cameras to the backs of sheep. Google was actually impressed by this and then set off, classically with the Trekker backpack, and digitized some parts of the island. From this idea, the already mentioned dog view should have emerged. » More information about Sheepview —
So far, only classic cars have been spotted on German roads, but at least the camera backpacks could also be used in Germany for pedestrian zones or other areas that are difficult or impossible to access for vehicles. In view of the still strong Street View skepticism in Germany, it will probably not be easy to find someone who voluntarily walks through the city centers with such a backpack. » Google Maps: Police discover fugitive Mafioso on Street View pictures & catch him after 20 years on the run

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