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Tech Beat: Google mapping the globe
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You have to admit it, this guy has a pretty cool job.
He's part of a team that explores the most interesting scenic and historic spots all over the globe and he gets paid to see as much of those sites as possible all the while, getting a great workout. That job, rider of the Google Street View trikes, just wrapped up capturing much of Central Park's 800-plus acres so that anyone who wants to visit online can, just like with sites like the Coliseum in Rome and virtually take a look around.
"It has a camera set up on the back so that when the rider is going down pedestrian paths and other places where our street view cars can't go, they can get imagery of beautiful places like Central Park to show to our users around the world. There is GPS on it so it knows where it is so that when you look at it on a map things are placed in the right position. There are plenty of assurance testing to make sure it all makes sense."
The trike has also been taken to malls, museums, places where the street view cars can't go. For Central Park, it took the trike and car combined about a week to photograph it but hasn't put a timeline for when it'll all be strung together online.
Now if you're still looking for your fifteen minutes of fame, if you see the trike go by, you will be in street view. Sorta.
"We blur all the faces and license plates. You will not be identifiable by your face. If you really don't want to be on there, you can go onto Google Maps and click on 'Report a Problem' and we will respect your request to not be on there. As you might imagine, most people are just excited that they were there at the right time."
In addition to trikes, the Google Street View team has also created a photo-capturing boat, snow mobile, backpack and has even struck a deal with NASA to make a street-view type tour of Mars based on photos taken by the Curiosity rover, which just arrived on the red planet.