Thank you to GEB reader Adino for letting us know that Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands recently received Street View.
You can see our ‘Street View changes map’ below:
Street view changes between November 11th, 2016 and December 12th, 2016.
Blue: existing Street View.
Red: changes to the map. Larger version
Note that the round dots are user-submitted photos and not Google’s Street View. The user-submitted photo markers come and go over time as the algorithm that decides which to show at this zoom level doesn’t always pick the same ones. Also note that one of the red patches in Madagascar is not Street View but a change to the base map. There are also tiny changes globally to the coastlines, suggesting Google used some new data to improve on them.
Thank you to GEB reader Adino for letting us know that Albania and Montenegro have recently received Street View.
Street View changes between October 3rd, 2016 and November 11th, 2016. Red: new Street View, Blue: previously existing Street View. Larger version
Our ‘changes’ map above also picks out some other interesting features. Google has added land to the northern coast of Greenland. This may be due to the availability of better satellite imagery or it may have to do with melting ice making the coast line more visible. Also, Google Maps has recently started showing more of the blue circles for user submitted photos even when zoomed out.
Indonesia and the Philippines have also seen significant additions to their Street View coverage.
Google has also added an ‘expand’ button to the overview map in the Google Maps version of Street View which allows a split-screen mode. This makes exploring Street View much easier.
Google has just released Street View imagery of Komodo Island, Indonesia, as well as significantly increasing the coverage for the rest of Indonesia. There are also a number of new underwater Street View locations in the region, which you can read more about on Google’s Lat Long blog.
Red: New Street View. Blue: Previously existing Street View.
The blue outlines are not showing correctly in Google Earth, but the Street View is there if you know where to look. The blue does show when you zoom out almost to the point where the ‘yellow man’ disappears. To zoom in and out while holding the ‘yellow man’ above the map, use the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ keys on the keyboard. Because of this issue, the imagery is best explored with Google Maps.
Steven Ho, whose excellent work we have covered many times in the past, has recently produced a tool for creating Street View tours. The tool and details on how to use it can be found on his blog here. The instructions for how to use it are a little hard to follow as English is not Steven’s first language, but he provides a number of examples so if you wish to use the tool, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out how to use it.
In addition to a number of samples produced with the tool provided in the above post, he has also used it to create a tour of Kumamoto Castle, Japan which was severely damaged in the Kumamoto Earthquakes in April, 2016. See part of that tour in the YouTube video below and read more about it on his blog.
The tours he has created can be played back in Google Earth, but due to a bug in Google Earth they do not always enter Street View automatically. If this happens he suggests pausing the tour and manually entering Street View by dropping the yellow man on the map before continuing.
Google Street View coverage has been increasing at a steady pace for the last few years, with new countries being added every few months. There are, however, still many places that do not have Street View and feel left out. One such place is the Faroe Islands, which are situated north of Scotland about halfway between Norway and Iceland. A group of Faroe Islanders decided to start a campaign #WeWantGoogleStreetView but rather than simply wait for Street View they started capturing their own Street View with the help of other residents of the Faroe Islands – the sheep. Read more about it here. Also see their website SheepView360 and the YouTube video below:
On the SheepView360 website there are some 360° YouTube videos where you can look around while watching the video or pause it and look around as if it is Street View. This makes us wonder whether such features will one day make it into Street View. Would 360° videos improve the Street View experience or not work that well?
We only managed to find one Sheep View image in Street View, but it is a new project, so we expect many more will follow.
In some places, the reason Google has not collected Street View has to do with governments not allowing it for various reasons. Germany put a halt to Street View collection over privacy concerns (some parts of Germany do have Street View) and India has also so far refused to allow it on a large scale (some Street View exists) over security concerns. Submissions by individuals however do not face the same legal obstacles so there is nothing stopping you from adding to Street View in those countries.
Currently, user submitted photos do not work in Google Earth’s Street View so there is no way to see Sheep View in Google Earth. Hopefully Google is working on a fix for this.