Google Street View – now in Australia

Was watching World News on SBS when I saw a report about Google Street View. I’d never heard of it, but the reporter was saying that your house’s street view could be visible in a Google Maps search if you selected street view. Just had to check that out! Typed in my address, clicked on street view and next thing you know I’m looking at my front fence and driveway -the image you see above! Freaked me out a bit I have to admit. It seems a little intrusive somehow.

Andrew Ramadge, from News.com.au wrote an article about Street View explaining what it is and how the images are collected;

Google Street View is an online tool that lets users take a virtual tour of landscapes from their computer by perusing an interactive database of millions of 360-degree snapshots.

The snapshots are taken by a fleet of cars fitted with special cameras that drive across the country, capturing images on every street corner and along every highway.

   He goes on to address security concerns that have been expressed and how Google hopes to overcome them;

In response to security concerns raised in the US, Google said last year its Street View service would not identify faces or license plates in Australia.

The company has recently introduced an automatic face-blurring technology designed to obscure the identities of people caught in the lens of Street View. Mr Shilkin said that the low resolution of images would prevent vehicle number plates from being identifiable.

Users can also report any Street View images they believe to be inappropriate through a link on the website. Mr Foster said it would take anywhere between a few minutes to “a day or so” to remove to offending images once they were reported.

Google have created a video explaining Street View for Australian audiences. I have to admit that after viewing this I warmed to the Street View concept. Good marketing Google! I like the fact that I and my students are now going to be able to visit places of interest and ‘walk’ our way around them. Imagine a class where you’re explaining the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge or Opera House- you can take your students there to navigate your way around its surrounds.  If you have to find your way from one place to another you type in your start address and your finish address and the program will step out for you the course you need to take.  Geography classes just got a whole lot more interesting I think! Watch the video and make your own mind up about Street View.

(If you want to see how the camera works that took the street view pictures take a look at this popular mechanics article. Thanks to Simon Brown for tweeting about this)

3 Replies to “Google Street View – now in Australia”

  1. I have always enjoyed looking at atlases, maps and have recently used google maps with my class where we added photos to the route we took on our local walk last term. This is even better! I’m hoping I get time to have a walk in here over the weekend.

    I also read the articles about how helpful this app is to thieves and I suppose that’s a concern but this concern is overshadowed by my interest in taking my class for a virtual local walk now. Thanks for tweeting this.

  2. I often teach my Business students about preparing for job interviews – this is a much better way to plan and check out the address beforehand so they know exactly where they are going. Virtual excursions would also be of huge advantage in the classroom – no more external excursion risk assessments! Great idea Jenny – thanks:)

  3. Oooh – and I could also use this to show shopfronts when discussing marketing and signage…to compare advertising campaigns…to demonstrate commercial street layout options…getting excited now!

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