Google Maps is in town collecting imagery for Street View. The Google Map vehicle was spotted by a Standard reporter at a local gas station earlier this week.
The woman driving the vehicle refused to give her name, stating she is not allowed to give interviews.
“I’ve been in Warren County for about a week,” she said. “I will probably be here another week or so. I just drive around while the video cameras record.”
According to Google, the project called “Street View” was launched initially in the United States in 2007 as an experimental project. It includes having computers in the back of a vehicle, mounted cameras, lasers, and a GPS device on top of the vehicle. The vehicle is then drived around to collect imagery. Today, the project has expanded to 360-degree panoramic views to include locations on all seven continents.
According to the Street View section of the Google website, projects like these include several factors.
• Collecting Imagery
“First off we need to actually drive around and photograph the locations to show a Street View. We pay close attention to many factors, including the weather and the population density of various areas, to determine when and where to collect the best possible imagery.”
• Aligning imagery
“To match each image to its geographic location on the map, we combine signals from sensors on the car that measure GPS, speed and direction. This helps us reconstruct the car’s exact route, and even tilt and realign images as needed.”
• Turning photos into 360-degree panoramas
“To avoid gaps in the panoramas, adjacent cameras take slightly overlapping pictures, and then we stitch the photos together into a single 360-degree image. We then apply special image processing algorithms to lessen seams and create smooth transitions.”
• Showing you the right image
“How quickly the car’s three lasers reflect off surfaces tells us how far a building or object is, and enables us to construct 3D models. When you move to an area in the distance, the 3D model determines the best panorama to show you for that location.”