Google Maps Street VIew

From the Earth to the Moon

Today some 230,000 miles of Street View coverage has gone live in Google Maps, which represents arguably the most detailed map of the UK every produced. I say this because of the amount of information contained in each panoramic photograph is simply massive.

Yes it may not look like a conventional cartographic map, but it is nevertheless rich geospatial information and represents the next evolution of maps.

Street View images contain both quantitative information, parking restrictions from signs, opening times of shops, the type of tree most common is the surburan streets of Manchester and qualitative information, the “sense of place” something  very difficult to represent using traditional cartographic techniques.

Street View imagery in the UK will I hope become a valuable resource to academics researching the state of the nation at the beginning of the 2010’s, a image taken every 10 metres or so for 238,000 miles a distance equivalent to travelling from the earth to the moon, must represent one of the largest archives of photographs ever collected.

It is disappointing that the raw images used to create street view will have to be destroyed at the request of the European Union Data Protection Working Party, leaving only the privacy blurred published versions for future generations to accesses, still that is the balance we need to achieve between providing useful services and protecting privacy.

When I was running around Covent Garden in the early 1990’s creating a “hypermedia” map using a video camera and Apple’s Hypercard, I had a vague idea that such a database of navigable scenes might be extended to other parts of London, but National Coverage… that would have been Science Fiction !

But then again so once was putting a man on the moon !

Written and submitted from home (51.425N, 0.331W)

Street VIew

Just think of the guy who has to pedal..

We have been asking people to vote on the tourist destination that would most like to see covered by Street View in the UK. In many cases the destinations short listed with help from Visit Britain, are not accessible with a car, hence these destinations will have the street view imagery captured using one of custom build tricycles designed for the purpose.

On your trike
On your trike

I have voted for Stonehenge myself, and of course I am not going to try and influence your decision, but just think of our poor cyclist (not me !!) who may have to cycle round Loch Ness or the Pembrokeshire Coast.

Written and submitted from NH Atlanta Hotel, using the swisscom 802.11 network.

Street VIew Thoughts

If you want privacy, don’t invite the BBC !


The irony of this, surely needs comment.

So two upstanding citizens of Broughton (one of Milton Keynes “villages”) flag down a passing Street View car, have a chat with its driver and tell him to be on his way as they (on behalf of the rest of the village I assume) don’t want their privacy infringed by Street View images. 

An unusual occurrence to be sure, and one which you would expect would go largely unnoticed, because these chaps clearly don’t want to draw attention to themselves or their village because they “fear” criminals will discover that it is actually quite a wealthy part of the world, and run off with they plasma TV’s

So it’s a bit strange then, within days their names are in all of the papers and the wonderful Rory Cellan Jones of the BBC complete with his satellite truck is filming around the village for TV news, beaming live unblurred images into people homes all around the world.

If you really want privacy, why get on the phone to the media and invite them to descend upon your village?

Written and submitted from Sofitel Hotel, Athens Airport, using its wired broadband network.