Book Trailer for Pilikia

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Google Street View

I hadn't been paying attention to the street view addition to Google maps until yesterday when a co-worker pointed it out to me. I immediately clicked on my own address and was amazed to find a picture of my house in almost real estate listing quality. The picture was taken on a Wednesday. I can tell that because my empty garbage container is still out front. The container being empty means the picture was probably taken after 10 AM. From the foliage in my yard I judge it to have been taken in late summer 2007. The amazing thing is the seamless 360 view of the area and the ability to "walk" through the neighborhood to see the other houses. It almost seemed like an invasion of privacy.

I next entered my son's address in Lewisville. Again got a real estate view. This appeared to have been taken in late fall or winter. I can't tell what year. It's late afternoon, shortly after school has gotten out. I know this because, after "walking" a few blocks, I come to a crossing guard and some children with book bags. A little farther on, I find a school bus.

Street view doesn't hit every street. I tried to "walk" from my son's house to my other son's apartment, a mile and a half away. I made it to within two blocks and then was forced to turn up a different street. It's possible that, by taking the long way around, I can yet reach my son's apartment, but I decided to save that for another day.

Street view looks like an amazing tool for writers who want to get a feel for their location and can't get there in person. I put in the address of the hotel we stayed at in Rome last summer and, Holy Mother of God, there it was clearer than my own travel photos. I walked from there down to the Circus Maximus like I did during our stay there. This is either the writer's greatest helper or worst enemy. I could spend hours revisiting all the places I saw in Rome and exploring new ones.

The only disappointment is that there is no street view for Honolulu yet. That might be a good thing.


  1. Helen Ginger said...

    Probably a year ago, I did that with my daughter's apartment in San Francisco. I'd never been there, so it was fun to be able to see the front of the apartment and the streets around her. I'll have to go check my house. Last time I checked it was there, but seemed rather desolate (seemed to have been taken long before we began to landscape).