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What's Driving Google Street View?

04/14/2009 8:44 AM

Greetings All, one of our Sons found out that our domicile has been loaded onto Street View & I was somewhat surprised.

You see, where we are it is very rural, and our location basically warrants that if you are on our road, you probably have a good reason to be up there, as it is a dead-end with nowhere to go, and some distance (1.7 miles) off of a more "main" road.

We are located on a state-maintained road, so anyone is free to ride around. There are other houses along this route, but it is in no way a subdivision or what you would call a street or main artery - it is country....

I tried yesterday to do some research behind the Street View initiatives, but not much is found, except the usual media stories & articles talking about the projects. There was nothing I could find direct from Google regarding the project as a whole, or info on any key drivers that would get the Street View equipment out to our neck of the woods....

I know the folks in the UK are somewhat taken aback about these things, but I am just curious....what would get those resources into a somewhat remote & rural area, before they map-out other more distinct targets inside the nearby cities or tourist areas themselves, which by the way are not fully mapped in any way....

Anyone have a clue, or insight to help quench my curiosity? What would drive this?

I'll still keep diggin', but was hoping we would have some Google-Minds out there

TIA

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#1

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/14/2009 9:00 AM

Same here.

Have a place 7 miles from Hot Springs, AR and you can look up the driveway to the house which is 200ft from the road and 60 feet above it.

They did not enter the drive, which is private.

There's one house within a mile, then nothing in either direction for some distance. So, you have lots of shots of trees and pasture land.

Let us know what you find out.

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Anonymous Poster
#2

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/14/2009 12:18 PM

A relative of mine has something of the opposite problem. He lives in a rural-ish area just outside a city of 45,000 (and near two cities slightly larger).

Street View came around and did its thing for the majority of the roads in the area, but oddly left out a few here and there including the one he lives on. This seems odd because his road connects directly to a state highway at one end and at a point along it's length re-connects to that highway via a short road.

Maybe the government is going to make this road "disappear" just like Area 51?

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#3

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/14/2009 9:21 PM

Try mooning the camera crew the next time they come around . They'll very likely reject the image after that .

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#16
In reply to #3

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

05/14/2009 9:20 PM

Is that a Full moon or a half moon?

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#4

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/15/2009 6:01 AM

I wondered the same thing; but now I only wonder who...who it is/was (if not the post office) that was paid or volunteered to simply drive along, up and down streets and roads, taking pictures. After studing the google street scenes and how they work, it became obvious that with enough people, it might not be such a big deal to "film" every street in a country. Maybe a rural road is not traveled as frequently as an urban street, but over time it is probably travelled many times (or been the route of mail delivery?) ...and the addition of one wandering driver (with one, mounted, forward looking and one or two side looking cameras) will not be noticable in terms of observable increases in traffic.

How do I know that the street scenes have resulted simply from one or a few passes of a vehicle along a street (times the many streets, roads, and byways in the country)? Well, one hint is that all the scenes can be dated..provided a viewist has knowledge (read memory) of the scenes (of changes in the scenes) depicted. But here's how it became evident to me. As I was Google re-enacting the approximate 4 mile walk from home to school which I followed (twice) each day during my elementary school "career," it so happened that during one several-block stretch along (between) the back yards of older houses, the view left kept showing up as obliterated by something...until I realized that the progressive "scenes" being loaded/depicted (which the "camera vehicle" had taken) were of tall weeds growing along the edge of that road. By this (this indiscrimination of scenery), I knew that the side looking camera(s) was at a fixed height..that is, that the driver was busy driving as opposed to ensuring the camera elevation would ensure a pleasing, or comprehehsible, vistas.

So the short answer...no matter how many streets and how accessible...there is no shortage (any more) of more than enough people, and more than enough cars, to drive down them all. (I.e., Peoples's [mere mortals's...that and cookie eating systems's] driving google scenes.)

So the real question...what was the incentive for people (or postal workers and contractors?) to have done all those (comparatively tiny) driving sessions? In the words of the old song: "How long, has this been going on?"

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#7
In reply to #4

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/15/2009 7:44 AM

The Post Office is not a bad idea. except that the images / slides are not on-track with how the delivery vehicle would be going, but it does raise a flag...

No luck so far flushing out the incentives, or reasons to get out this far...

My curiosity is going nuts!

I have found that Google has it's own vehicles & equipment, but there must also be some contractors of some sort out there....are these persons getting paid to just ride around? This doesn't seem possible, which is why the post office / parcel post concept may be viable.

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#10
In reply to #7

Re: What's (how, and Who all's) Driving Google Street View?

04/16/2009 11:55 PM

Actually the images are "on track" for the most part if...

...if the "forward ("ahead" view) facing" camera (with sideward-slewed cameras photographing to either side) is actually mounted and facing rearward on the vehicle. How can we know this is the case?

As you click "forward" through the google map ordering successive shots "up ahead," notice that the directional arrow lines "on the pavement" indicate a camera mounting vehicle which, if the camera and vehicle driver were facing the same direction, would always be traveling either in the center of the street (for one-lane drives and lanes) or traveling the wrong direction in the (oncoming traffic's) curb lane, for multi-lane thoroughfares. (Think: taking pictures to the rear as the driver always keeps to the far righthand lane like a safe and good driver ought to.)

When you think about is, this "progression in reverse direction" on Google makes a lot of sense...as the camera carting driver is totally un-distracted and unencumbered by aiming and operation of the camera(s)...that task being left to automation and/or to a camera operator uninvolved with safe operation of the vehicle.

Hope this helps. I know that the realization certainly helped me in terms of easier street scene navigation using the Google on-screen controls.

TexEx

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#11
In reply to #7

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/17/2009 12:13 AM

And common carriers (as qaqcpipeman seems to suggest below) would also be a reasonable guess....as, just like the postal service(s?), they have more likely than not recorded/traced out every possible delivery route for inclusion in a data base....intended to achieve lowest-cost dispatching (and labor cost) control and predictability.

Another reasonable guess -- as far as technical capability goes -- might be that the national street scene data base was able to be gathered so quickly only after the necessary camera and camera control innovations came on line. My guess would be that the same systems (and developers) involved with red light (auto-fine) camera systems are also involved in the google street scene database compilation. Think about when the red light cameras first came on line less than a decade ago (after Lockheed Martin divested so it wouldn't be the focus of public outrage)...the time since then seems a reasonable interim during which the entire country could have been photographed. Just a thought.

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#5

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/15/2009 7:16 AM

Like the zip code originally and then the mandatory Public Health #'s.

Tracking the citizens the politicians perceive that they own.

Why else chips in all new smart driver's license?

Internet tracking and blocking in Aussie Land

Our "rulers" have a desire to track and trace our every move and it is consuming them.

We had none of this 40 years or so ago and everything worked just fine.

In fact, I think that more USPS packages and letters are misdirected than ever before.

Why are so many getting as far off the grid as possible.

RFIDs in your physical person next as in pets and suggested for newborns.

Why the obsession, even with the populace about knowing where every one is at.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/15/2009 7:33 AM

this may seem alarmist, "conspiracy theorist", etc., but have you ever heard of the thought police?

our gov'ts want to know where you are at all times so they can send the bobbies around to pick you up if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person......

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/15/2009 8:05 AM

I am there and have been there these many years stemming form working with Westinghouse Nuclear here in PA.

I have seen some scary stuff these 35+ years in the business.

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#9

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/15/2009 9:05 AM

I'm guessing it's Google's goal to acquire street view on every mapped road. It seems rather pointless in areas like yours where the labor and equipment overhead could be $5 or $10 per area resident. I wonder if they'll get to Montana, the Dakota's, or other states with real low populations?

Personally I kind of like street view to find restaurants, shops, or check out real estate for sale. Even more personal though is Zillow.com where you can see home values and prices paid during previous sales. I'm not comfortable having coworkers or friends know how much I paid.

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#12

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/17/2009 12:01 PM
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#13
In reply to #12

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/17/2009 2:21 PM

Thanks RF - yes, I did see that early on in the research. Also found out there are indeed contractors doing this, but have not been able to determine if they own the expensive equipment, or if Google does

http://www.immersivemedia.com/

started this for them years ago, but now Google has their own vehicles & equipment they developed.

I still find it odd to be going to out-of-the-way places, as someone has said, in rural areas the cost/per/house has to have a $$ value, so there has to be some incentive...I just haven't had the time to figure this thing out yet - but I will

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/17/2009 8:16 PM

What is the incentive to have a picture of every address in the nation? One might ask what is the incentive behind every county recorder's willingness to sell every parcel number and parcel owner's name and address to whomever (what ever business or marketeer) is willing to pay. Imagine this scenario which exemplifies how a virtual, connected world can benefit from something like street view.

Suppose a painter (roofer/remodler/side-er/landscaper/...) needs new work. What better...than to virtually drive through local neighborhoods obtaining house views and house addresses.

Or suppose the street view displays a remote, rural setting that appears to be a farm and have implements, livestock, crops, outbuildings... Might virtual visitors to that location not also include, say, Agra businesses, insurers against natural disaster crop loss, or the barn burning in a range fire, or veterinary-Pharma service and supply and insurance for the live stock...? The list goes on. But long story short, it's easy to see how, once the scene data base development process gets started there can be no end until nothing is left unrecorded. (You want the pool of "neglected [ostensibly spurned]" addresses to be kept as small and ever-dimishing (and or as hopeful) as possible...good for business in general.

TE

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#15

Re: What's Driving Google Street View?

04/17/2009 10:18 PM

If the question is, who would be interested in outlaying cash to map rural areas, the answer is, real estate developers.

Developers are not interested in built up areas. They are looking for vacant land to acquire, service, connect, and build up. In my part of the world, I find them to be a particularly nasty breed of profiteers.

On the innocent side of possibilities, if you were hired to do street mapping, would you happily find an excuse to spend an hour or two driving about the countryside? I think I would...

Another possibility, there may have been a commitment on Google's part to be "inclusive" of rural areas, ensuring that a certain percentage of the mapping is done outside the high-density zones.. ? This would make it a "political" motive (perhaps the strangest and most innocuous of all..)

All that being said, if you see developers sniffing around, watch your back.

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