Google Street View

Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides interactive panoramas from positions along many streets in the world. It was launched in 2007 in several cities in the United States, and has since expanded to include cities and rural areas worldwide. Streets with Street View imagery available are shown as blue lines on Google Maps.

Google Street View displays panoramas of stitched images. Most photography is done by car, but some is done by tricycle, boat, snowmobile, and underwater apparatus, as well as on foot.

Google Street View
Street View logo
A road junction in Manchester, England, showing nine different angles
A road junction in Manchester, England, showing nine different angles
Initial releaseMay 25, 2007
Stable release(s) [±]
Android2.0.0.230933467 / January 25, 2019[1]
iOS2.13.3 / July 21, 2018[2]
OnlineRelease 250 (see list) / March 11, 2019
PlatformAndroid, iOS, web
Available inMultiple languages

History and features

Street View had its inception in 2001 with The Stanford CityBlock Project, a Google-sponsored Stanford University research project. The project ended in June 2006, and its technology was folded into StreetView.[3]

  • 2007: Launched on May 25 in the United States using Immersive Media technology.
  • 2008: In May Google announces that it was testing face-blurring technology on its photos of the busy streets of Manhattan.[4] The technology uses a computer algorithm to search Google's image database for faces and blurs them.[5] Street View integrated into Google Earth 4.3, the Maps application on the Apple iPhone, and the Maps application for S60 3rd Edition. In November, the drag and drop Pegman icon is introduced as the primary user interface element for connecting from Maps' 2D view into Street View's 3D view. When Pegman is dropped onto a particular set of coordinates in Google Maps for which Street View data is available, Street View opens and takes over the whole map window.
  • 2009: Introduction of full-screen option. Smart Navigation introduced allowing users to navigate around the panoramas by double-clicking with their cursor on any place or object they want to see.[6]
  • May 2011: Indoor views of businesses - Google Business Photos - announced.[7] After the pilot phase of several months, the project rolled out in earnest in fall.[8]
  • November 2012: With the release of Android 4.2, Google invites users to contribute panoramas of their own using supported devices. Google highlights user-contributed panoramas with blue circle icons on Maps. The company also created a website to highlight places in the world where one can find them.[9]
  • 2013: Business interior views are shown as small orange circles. Businesses such as shops, cafés and other premises can pay a photographer to take panoramic images of the interior of their premises which are then included in Street View.[10] Google sets up program to let third parties borrow the Street View Trekker (a backpack mounted camera) and contribute imagery to Google Maps.[11]
  • 2014: Street-level imagery from the past can now be seen, if available for a given street view.[12]
  • 2015: A partnership was announced between Street View and the environmental monitoring company Aclima. Cars began carrying sensors to detect pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and particulate matter.[13] In October, support for Google Cardboard was announced allowing users to explore street view in 360 degree virtual reality.[14]
  • 2017: Imagery inside the International Space Station is added to Street View.
  • May 2017: Google celebrates tenth anniversary of first published Street View images - 10 million miles mapped in 83 countries.[15][16]
  • 2017: Starting in August, Google allows users to create their own street view-like blue paths, for the connected photospheres that are sufficiently close to one another.
  • 2017: On September 5, Google announced that they are improving the quality of the street view panoramic photo revamping its mapping vehicles with all-new high resolution camera systems and AI to capture even better imagery. The new Google cars have been seen in various American cities since March 2017 as well as in Japan since August.[17][18][19][20][21] The first images taken with the new generation of cameras were available online on September 13.[22]
  • October 2017: The makers of the Insta360 Pro announce the certification of the first "Street View auto ready" camera for US$3500; it uses 6 lenses for a 360º view and comes with Stitcher software.[23][24][25][26][27] In addition to purchase, the camera rig is also available to qualified entities as part of the Google loaner program, with 50 cameras available to loan,[28] making possible Google Street View imagery coverage of more places that Google might not visit, and to entities for whom a purchase is impractical or impossible.
  • 2018: Google Japan now offers the street view from a dog's perspective.[29]
  • August 2018: Street View covers two offshore gas-extraction platforms in the North Sea.[30]


Street View is available as a component of Google Maps, as a web application, and as a mobile application for Android and iOS. Originally, Google Maps used Adobe Flash for Street View.[31] Google overhauled Google Maps in 2013. The newer version uses JavaScript extensively and provides a JavaScript application programming interface.[32] At the time of their release, the new Google Maps and Street View are measured slower than the old version in various setups.[33][34] A user can switch to the old version of Google Maps, which is especially useful when Google Maps is more sluggish than usual.[35][36]

Data capturing equipment

Google Street View 2018 02
Google car in Germany
GoogleStreetViewCar Subaru Impreza at Google Campus
A Google Maps Camera Car showcased on the Google campus in Mountain View, California in October 2010
Google Street View backpack camera
A backpack camera on display at the Google campus in Mountain View, California in February 2018
  • Cameras: Street View imagery has come from several generations of camera systems from Immersive Media [1], Point Grey Research (now FLIR Systems) [2] and developed in-house.[37] The cameras contain no mechanical parts, including the shutter, instead using CMOS sensors and an electronic rolling shutter. Widely deployed versions are:
    • R2: the earliest after Immersive Media, photos were captured with a ring of eight 11-megapixel CCD sensors with commercial photographic wide-angle lenses, cameras with the same specs as those used for the Google Books project.
    • Ladybug2 cameras (resolution 1024 x 768 pixels) by Point Grey Research.[38]
    • R5: uses a ring of eight 5-megapixel CMOS cameras by Elphel[39][40] with custom low-flare lenses, plus a camera with fisheye lens on top to capture upper levels of buildings.
    • R7: is the first completely in-house built camera, it uses 15 of the same sensors and lenses as R5, but no fish-eye.
    • 2017: uses 8 20MP cameras. Includes two facing left and right to read street signs and business names.[41]
  • Positioning: recorded photographs must be associated with accurate positioning. This is done via a Global Positioning System, wheel speed sensor, and inertial navigation sensor data.[37]
  • Laser range scanners from Sick AG for the measuring of up to 50 meters 180° in the front of the vehicle.[42] These are used for recording the actual dimensions of the space being photographed.
  • LIDAR scanners from Velodyne were added in the 2017 update. Mounted at 45° to capture 3D depth information, and used for additional positional information.[41]
  • Vehicles: data recording equipment is usually mounted on the roof of a car. A Trike (tricycle) was developed to record pedestrian routes including Stonehenge, and other UNESCO World Heritage sites. In 2010 a snowmobile-based system captured the 2010 Winter Olympics sites.[37] Trolleys have been used to shoot the insides of museums, and in Venice the narrow roads were photographed with backpack-mounted cameras, and canals were photographed from boats.[43]
  • A portable back-pack Google Trekker is used in outdoor terrain. For instance, the six main paths up Snowdon were mapped by the Google Trekker in 2015.[44]


As noted above, the drag-and-drop Pegman icon is the primary user interface element used by Google to connect Maps to Street View. Its name comes from its resemblance to a clothespeg. When not in use, Pegman sits atop the Google Maps zoom controls. Occasionally Pegman "dresses up" for special events or is joined by peg friends in Google Maps. When dragged into Street View near Area 51, he becomes a flying saucer. When viewing older views, the Pegman in the minimap changes to Doc Brown from Back to the Future.[45]

Pegman has occasionally appeared as a costumed character at Google events, such as the launch of Street View in France in 2008.

Privacy concerns

A Street View car parked at a Subaru Service Center in Jersey City, New Jersey

Google Street View will blur houses for any user who makes a request, in addition to the automatic blurring of faces and licence plates.[46] Privacy advocates have objected to the Google Street View, pointing to views found to show men leaving strip clubs, protesters at an abortion clinic, sunbathers in bikinis, and people engaging in activities visible from public property in which they do not wish to be seen publicly.[47] Another concern is the height of the cameras, and in at least two countries, Japan[48] and Switzerland,[49] Google has had to lower the height of its cameras so as to not peer over fences and hedges. The service also allows users themselves to flag inappropriate or sensitive imagery for Google to review and remove.[50]

Police Scotland received an apology for wasting police time in 2014 from a local business owner in Edinburgh who in 2012 had staged a fake murder for the Google camera car by lying in the road "while his colleague stood over him with a pickaxe handle".[51] In May 2010, it was revealed that Google had collected and stored payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi connections as part of Street View.[52][53]

The concerns have led to Google not providing or suspending the service in countries around the world.

  • Austria: Google Street View was banned in Austria because Google was found to collect Wifi data unauthorized in 2010. After the ban was lifted rules were set up for how Street View can operate legally in Austria. Google resumed collecting imagery in 2017.[54] As of 2018 Google Street View is available in select areas of Austria.
  • Australia: In 2010, Google Street View ceased operations in Australia, following months of investigations from Australian authorities.[55] However, this cessation has since ended, with Google announcing plans to continue production on May 4, 2011[56] and subsequently releasing updated Street View imagery for Australian towns and cities on July 27, 2011.[57]
  • Germany: In 2011, after having put online the pictures of the 20 largest cities, Google stopped taking Street View images in Germany.[58]
  • India: In 2011, Google stopped taking street images in India, after receiving a letter from police authorities in Bangalore.[59]
  • Canada: Street View cars were spotted as early as September 2007, in Montreal, however service for Canada was delayed while they attempted to settle with the Canadian government over its privacy laws. Privacy and town beauty concerns were dealt with and Street View is available in Montreal and other Canadian cities (as of 2016).[60]

Third-party use of images

Fine-art photographers have selected images for use in their own work.[61] Although the images may be pixelated, the colours muddy, and the perspective warped, the photographs have been published in book form and exhibited in art galleries, such as the work of Jon Rafman at the Saatchi Gallery, London.[62] In his personal appreciation of Street View material, Rafman sees images which evoke the "gritty urban life" depicted in American street photography and the images commissioned by the Farm Security Administration. He also invokes the "decisive moment" esthetic of Henri Cartier-Bresson "as if I were a photojournalist responding instantaneously to an emerging event".[63]

Michael Wolf won an honourable mention in Daily Life in the 2011 World Press Photo competition for some of his work using Google Street View.[64]

Mishka Henner was short-listed for the 2013 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in November 2012 for his series 'No Man's Land', which depicts sex workers at rural roadside locations.[65]

Swedish programmer Anton Wallén developed a game called GeoGuessr, which places players into a Google Street View and has them guess its location.[66]

Canadian artist, Sylvia Grace Borda, worked in conjunction with John M Lynch between 2013-14[67][68] to insert the first staged tableaux[69] into the Google Street View engine. Their efforts won them the Lumen Prize in 2016.[70] Borda has continued independently to author in the Google Street View engine and in 2017 created the tableaux series, the Kissing Project.[71]


Google Street View coverage
  Countries and dependencies with mostly full coverage
  Countries and dependencies with partial coverage
  Countries and dependencies with full or partial coverage planned (official)
  Countries and dependencies with full or partial coverage planned (unofficial)
  Countries and dependencies with views of selected businesses and/or tourist attractions only
  Countries and dependencies with views of private businesses only
  Countries and dependencies with no current or planned coverage

In June 2012, Google announced that it has captured 20 petabytes of data for Street View, comprising photos taken along 5 million miles of roads, covering 39 countries and about 3,000 cities.[72] Coverage includes much of North and South America, from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut to Half Moon Island in the South Shetland Islands.[73] Maps also include panoramic views taken under water such as in West Nusa Tenggara underwater coral, in the Grand Canyon, inside museums, and Liwa Desert in United Arab Emirates which are viewed from camelback.[74] In a ten-day trek with Apa Sherpa, Google documented Khumbu, Nepal with its Mount Everest, Sherpa communities, monasteries and schools.[75]

Google also added landmarks in Egypt, including the Pyramids of Giza, Cairo Citadel, Saqqara, Monastery of Saint Mina, and the Citadel of Qaitbay in the 9 September 2014 release.

Many places still have limited or no coverage, including:



Street View camera showcased on campus


Google Street View camera mounted on a "trike", on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California

Rear view of Google Street View car

The cameras of this Google Street View car are mounted on the roof rack. The power and data cables are fed into the car through the right rear passenger window.

Google Street View trike side

Google Trike in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, August 2012

Google Street View car in Argentina

Chevrolet Captiva Street View in Patagonia, Argentina, February 2014

Google Street View new car

The Google Street View car in Japan

See also


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External links

Coverage of Google Street View

Google Street View was first introduced in the United States on May 25, 2007, and until November 26, 2008, featured camera icon markers, each representing at least one major city or area (such as a park), and usually the other nearby cities, towns, suburbs, and parks. Many areas that had coverage were represented by icons.

Google Street View in Africa

Presently, in Africa, Google Street View can be seen in parts of Botswana, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Swaziland, Lesotho, Senegal, Ghana, Tunisia, Nigeria, the Canary Islands of Spain, and Egypt's landmarks.

Google Street View in Antarctica

In Antarctica, Google Street View is available on selected locations.

Views of Half Moon Island in the South Shetland Islands, were added September 2010.

Ceremonial South Pole, Shackleton's Hut, Discovery Hut, added July 2012.

Cape Royds, Castle Rock Loop Trail, WISSARD Test Site, Arena Valley, Lake Bonney, McMurdo Station, Taylor Valley, Bull Pass, Wright Valley, added December 2013.

South Pole Telescope, added March 2014.

Google Street View in Asia

In Asia, Google Street View is available in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey. It is also available for a few select tourist attractions in the People's Republic of China and Pakistan.

Google Street View in Canada

In Canada, Google Street View is available on streets, roads, and highways in most parts of the country, with coverage in all provinces and territories. The feature is also provided in Whistler Blackcomb Resort, the location of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Google Street View in Chile

Google's Street View program in Chile began with the filming of streets and roads in January 2012. On September 25, 2012, parts of the country were made available online, including Santiago, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and Concepción. During 2013 and 2014 many more cities and roads were added. In March 2015 coverage was extended to the country's southernmost region of Magallanes (only accessible by road via Argentina). In December 2015 Chile's southernmost city, Puerto Williams, was added.

As of December 2015, coverage is high, with over seven-tenths of all cities —or over three-quarters of the country's population— having most of its streets photographed.

Google Street View in Colombia

In June 2012 Google Colombia announced to the media that the Google Street View cars would be circulating throughout Colombia collecting images.In September 2013 Google Street View became available. It covers a major part of the Colombian territory including 21 cities and many smaller towns. Among the major cities covered by Street view are Bogotá, Cartagena, Manizales, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Santa Marta and Neiva.The initial collecting of images begun in Bogota. Google explained to the Colombian media that the well known privacy concerns would be addressed with the blurring of faces and car plates. They also explained that a contact form would be available for users if they believed that there was data that they deemed private.

By the time of the first release some locations were not still covered, but Google assured that within the next months they would cover those areas still missing; namely Medellin and Cali.

According to Semana magazine, the first stage of image collection included a coverage of more than 30.000 km of streets and roads.

In addition to the cars, Google also used trikes since they were convenient for many narrow streets and colonial areas where cars might not be allowed.

Google introduced Street View officially to the Colombian people and the Colombian media at a press conference at the Interactive Center Maloka, a center for the diffusion of knowledge in science and technology located in the city of Bogota. Google executive for Colombia explained that Maloka had been chosen because it was known as a place that inspired exploration and innovation.

During a press conference general manager for Google in Colombia Laura Camacho explained that

Colombia was the 4th country in Latin America to have a major Street View coverage after Mexico, Brazil and Chile (which was started almost at the same time). She also expressed that after a year of operations in Colombia, the releasing of Street View in this country, implied an acknowledgment by Google that Colombia is an important market in Latin America.

Google Street View in Europe

In Europe, Google Street View began on 2 July 2008 with the route of Tour de France being covered in parts of France and Italy. The service has since expanded to many European countries, while at the same time has been controversial in some countries laws and privacy concerns.

Google Street View in Israel

Google Street View began in Israel in April 2012. Israel is the first country in the Middle East to see non-museum Street View. First, on April 3, the interior of the Israel Museum was introduced. Then on April 19, three days ahead of the planned formal launch, Jerusalem and the country's two largest cities, Tel Aviv, and Haifa, along with a number of other landmarks, came public. On January 16, 2013, dozens of cities and towns around Israel, along with some road connections, were added. While seen as a boost to tourism in the country, the feature has also brought up concerns that it could aid terrorists, which have been addressed. The imagery even offers views of some contested april, 2015 google started to take photos of Israel National Trail with a person carrying Google Street View camera called "Trekker", it took 10 weeks of hiking to finish the trail. The tail was publish in street view on 24 January, 2016.[1]

Google Street View in North America

In North America, Google Street View is available in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala and Greenland, and limited coverage in some more areas.

Google Street View in Oceania

In Oceania, Google Street View is available in most parts of Australia and New Zealand.

On 4 August 2008, the long-anticipated image collection of Australia was introduced. At this time, 18 camera icons were added. Extensive mapping of New Zealand was included on 1 December 2008. On 9 December 2008, Darwin, Australia, and other locations were included.

On 30 October 2009, Google Australia announced that they would be sending its fleet of cars back on the road from November 2009 to update Street View Australia with new images.

In October 2010, Google Street View ceased operations in Australia after its Street View cars were found to have been collecting Wi-Fi data from home Wi-Fi networks. In May 2011, Google Australia stated that they had removed all the Wi-Fi sniffing equipment and that they planned to shoot Australian roads again, but did not provide a specific timetable. On 27 July 2011, major urban and regional centres of Australia were updated with the new HD imagery.

In February 2015 another update of Australia with HD imagery was released, as part of the first update in Northern Territory after the low-resolution imagery. It also affected parts of Western Australia and Queensland. However, some places still have only low-resolution imagery or don't even have Street View coverage at all. As of June 2015, the updates of Australia footage are ongoing.

Google Street View in South America

In South America, Google Street View is available in parts of Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay. This article covers all of South America. For Central America and the Caribbean, see Google Street View in North America.

Google Street View in the United States

The United States was the first country to have Google Street View images and was the only country with images for over a year following introduction of the service on May 25, 2007. Early on, most locations had a limited number of views, usually constrained to the city limits and only including major streets, and they only showed the buildings up to a certain height. Few suburbs or other nearby cities were included.

After the first few sets of introductions, image collections from cities added were more detailed, often including every side street, especially in areas closer to the center of the city. More suburbs and other nearby cities were included.

The coverage of various cities has in many cases, subsequently been enlarged and improved, but not necessarily on the same date as new cities have been added. Improvements have included the additions of streets in neighborhoods where previously only main roads had been covered, expansions to more suburbs, and views to the sky where previously only views to a certain height were provided.

Initially when a group of cities were added, only those cities and their own suburbs would be a part of the image collection. However June 10, 2008 introductions also included cities in covered areas without camera icons and isolated from any other camera icons. Many more cities were added without icons on August 4, when the only U.S. city added with an icon was New Orleans.

On November 9, 2009, parts of Hawaii were added, and coverage of the United States was also further expanded, although some key areas had yet to be added. With the addition of Hawaii, all fifty states are now represented in Street View.On July 2, 2013, high-definition images, at least 99% of which has been taken since early 2011, were added to major portions of all fifty states, including those that have had no HD images up to that point.

Google Street View privacy concerns

Privacy advocates have objected to the Google Street View feature, pointing to photographs that show people leaving strip clubs, protesters at an abortion clinic, sunbathers in bikinis, cottagers at public parks, people picking up prostitutes and people engaging in activities visible from public property which they do not wish to be photographed and have published online. Google maintains that the photos were taken from public property. However, this does not take into account that the Street View cameras take pictures from an elevated position, enabling them to look over hedges and walls designed to prevent some areas from being open to public view. Before launching the service, Google removed photos of domestic violence shelters, and it allows users to flag inappropriate or sensitive imagery for Google to review and remove. When the service was first launched, the process for requesting that an image be removed was not trivial. Google changed its policy to make removal more straightforward, but has since removed the option to request removal of an image, replacing it by an option to request blurring of an image. Images of potential break-ins, sunbathers, and individuals entering adult bookstores have, however, remained active and these images have been widely republished.In Europe, the creation of Google Street View may not be legal in all jurisdictions. Some European countries have laws prohibiting the filming without consent of an individual on public property for the purpose of public display.Google Street View blurs parts of images containing car number plates and human faces, in order to protect privacy and anonymity.

Half Moon Island

Half Moon Island is a minor Antarctic island, lying 1.35 km (0.84 mi) north of Burgas Peninsula, Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands of the Antarctic Peninsula region. Its surface area is 171 hectares (420 acres). The Argentine Cámara Base is located on the island. It is only accessible by sea and by helicopter; there is no airport of any kind. The naval base is operational occasionally during the summer, but is closed during the winter.

Hip Sing Association

The Hip Sing Association or HSA (traditional Chinese: 協勝公會; simplified Chinese: 协胜公会; Jyutping: Hip3 Sing3 Gung1wui6), formerly known as the Hip Sing Tong (Chinese: 協勝堂; Cantonese Yale: Hip Sing Tong), is a Chinese-American criminal organization gang based in New York's Chinatown during the early 20th century. They, along with their rivals the Four Brothers and the On Leong Tong, would be involved in violent Tong wars for control of Chinatown during the early 1900s. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Hip Sings were involved in drug trafficking operations with the Kuomintang (KMT) and later the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). They would later establish chapters in Chinese-American communities throughout the United States in major cities such as Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco (the latter being subject to a major drug raid by authorities in 1996). On July 12, 2012, a major drug raid by authorities took place at the Portland, Oregon, branch.

List of street view services

This is a list of online mapping services that provide 360-degrees panorama around the world, it is grouped by rgion.

Outline of Google

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Google:

Google – American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products that include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, software, and hardware.

Ying On Association

The Ying On Labor & Merchant Association (Chinese: 英端工商會) or simply Ying On Association is a historical Chinese American association that was established during the 19th century for the purpose of assisting members of the Chinese community when they were threatened by unfair and discriminatory business practices; for organizing social gathering places for the Chinese; and at times, for organizing funeral parlors for the dead who had no kin or family in America.

They were also involved in the criminal underworld of the Chinese community as one of the main Tongs that were created as a self-protection society in America for Chinese immigrants. While a legitimate business association today, it was heavily involved in criminal activities during its history, as were most.

The Ying On Association still exists today.

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