Google’s Street View mapping service has proved hugely popular since its launch back in 2007. Despite covering only a few locations at the beginning, the service gave armchair travelers a tantalizing taste of what was to come.
In the intervening years, Street View has been all over the world, snapping 360-degree pictures along the road networks of a slew of countries; it’s even mapped parks, airports, malls and parts of the Amazon basin.
Now if all that dazzling 360-degree photography has left you itching to have a go at making your very own Street View sequences, you’ll be delighted to know that with the Streetview Camera System you can.
The kit, designed by a German company based in Langen called Streetview Technology, comprises a car mount for road shots, a backpack for photographing on foot, image processing software, accessories, and of course, the all-important camera.
The Streetview Camera System snaps one 28-megapixel picture every two seconds and incorporates a GPS receiver and orientation sensor. It runs on a battery that its maker says provides up to six hours of juice — plenty of time to get around your immediate neighborhood, though mapping your entire town might take a few trips.
The gathered images, once processed, are viewable using Google’s custom Street View API, which can be embedded into any website.
“I’ve been developing Streetview cameras for four years now and have gone through a variety of different hardware in that time,” Jan Martin, Streetview Technology’s boss, told me by email. “This version is the most complex and delivers the best results.”
Martin is, not surprisingly, a big fan of Google Street View, sometimes spending hours at a time on the site. “I’m a very curious guy,” he said.
So who might want to use the Streetview Camera System? Real estate agents, for example, might like the idea of providing broad coverage of a property, and mapping fanatics who want to record places as yet unvisited by Google’s cameras will surely be tempted. Who knows, get to some really obscure locations and perhaps Google might take a look at what you’ve got.
For pricing information and any other questions you might have regarding the camera kit, you’ll need to contact Martin directly.