10 Wildest Google Street View Adventures - InformationWeek

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7/16/2015
12:06 PM
Nathan Eddy
Nathan Eddy
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10 Wildest Google Street View Adventures

Not content to limit its ambitions to mapping the world's cities and towns, Google's Street View team has been taking some wild adventures over the years. These are our favorites.
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(Image: Google)

(Image: Google)

The Street View feature on Google Maps can be a lifesaver when you need to know exactly where to go, and it provides important visual information that a bird's eye view experience simply can't provide.

It's also an amusing way for you (and several others, as it turns out) to kill time. You can zoom down the avenues of European capitals or hunt suburban side streets for tableaux of American life -- suburban samurai locked in battle, bike accidents frozen mid-fall, or the more risqué displays of human behavior you'll have to view on sites other than this one.

But Street View is so much more, as Google has amply demonstrated over the years, taking us to far-flung locations most people have never even heard about, let alone seen in person.

It's also brought us new visions of familiar landscapes, such as the breathtaking cliff faces of Yosemite National Park and the murky depths of Loch Ness, supposed home of the eponymous beast lurking in its waters.

Street View serves a dual purpose as entertainer and educator, bringing us to dizzying heights and depths, and offering immersive, interactive visual experiences. We can see the colorful and exotic Coral Triangle in Asia, home of the richest coral reefs on Earth, and the horrific prison cells of Robben Island, South Africa, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in solitary confinement before attaining freedom.

No matter how well travelled you are, on this big blue ball there's always something new under the sun. We've selected 10 of Street View's coolest, most fascinating tours for you to explore. Once you've enjoyed these, tell us about your favorites, and tell us in the comments section below if you have any favorites that we missed.

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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WalterG440
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WalterG440,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2015 | 9:28:55 PM
Re: 10 Weirdest Google Street View Adventures
I enjoy Street View so much that I had my computer guru beef-up and configure my PC so that I can zing all around SV, Maps and Earth with almost no graphics loading delays. I am so well travelled on Street View that Google upgrades me to First Class as soon as I log on!
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2015 | 4:32:20 PM
Fantastic views
These are some truly fantastic views of the world. (Is anyone else a bit creeped out by the indoor views?) My favorite spot to check to google maps is walt disney world. when preparing for a trip I wanted to check it out and was surprised when the maps transitioned from a regular google map to a Disney cartoony version. It gave the whole disney feeling.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2015 | 9:11:45 PM
Re: 10 Weirdest Google Street View Adventures
@Jastroff I think todays generation is already far more technically advanced than what we were at their age, I bekieve that with these kind of tech coming out every now and then we can have a bunch of scientisits in every home. I believe that these things will fascinate young lot more than any other profession and people will lack interest in them. I am sure these apps are making young lot learning more quickly what we have taken ages to even understand,
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2015 | 9:03:02 PM
Re: 10 Weirdest Google Street View Adventures

@Zerox I agree with your point. Most of us will only see the benifit of the app that we are using but very rarely people will appreciate the genius brain around the idea, the team of scientists that made it possible and the numerous man hours being spent to put it in a way it is now infront of us. I think most of the things that surface here are based on profit and loss basis but in my humble opinion this one is not. It might have financial aspects attached to it but its advantages are far superior then its cost. So I think its a thumbs up for Google and waiting for some good additions.

nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2015 | 8:51:13 PM
Re: What's missing...
@Thomas correct. But I am waiting for the time when google can claim that they have mapped deepths of the sea. I think it must be more fascinating. But still at this time it is something we can experience and learn from.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2015 | 12:52:02 PM
Re: 10 Weirdest Google Street View Adventures
Certainly knocks the heck out of my paper-based "map skills" class in 4th grade. 

Let's hope educators are doing something with it that makes sense. Lots to work with.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2015 | 12:49:52 PM
Re: What's missing...
>> ..Street View makes the world look empty of people. I guess the view is better when there's no one standing in the way.

But lots of parked cars on those city streets. You're right, it's an odd view of populated places -- almost as if the population disappeared, for the most part. Very Twlight Zone-ish

 

 
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
7/17/2015 | 8:36:48 PM
Underwater
I am pleasantly surprised. Somehow I was under the impression that its just limited to street views. Water views add to its awesomeness. I'll definitely take my kids through it. It'll be a great learning experience.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
7/17/2015 | 3:33:32 PM
10 Weirdest Google Street View Adventures
I'm glad to finally hear someone else admit how fun it is just to screw around on Google Maps! In fact, I've even heard of a sort of 'game' based around it that seems potentially very addictive. There are a couple of variations, but the gist is this - you're dropped into a random location anywhere in the world using Google Street View. Then, using only what you can see in the images to guide you, you're supposed to navigate your way around and find out where you are (and, in some variations, find your way home). You can obviously play just by randomizing your location on Google Maps, but some people have even built special apps around the idea using what I assume are official Google APIs. The most famous one is called GeoGuessr, but there are many others.

That's just for fun, though I do see how it could be a good way to get kids interested in Geography and different cultures - combine that with all the great resources you've listed here (I had no idea about the indoor stuff!), and it really shows you what a great service Google is doing for the human race. We mainly use the technology at our fingertips to text each other or play games - giving anyone with an internet connection access to these vistas, historical resources, and otherwise nigh-unreachable areas is awesome. People follow the path of least resistance, so making it so user friendly and quick (as per Google philosophy) is the way to get people into it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to cruising around Europe...
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/17/2015 | 8:05:46 AM
Re: What's missing...
I would say that the images are typical of what I see when I'm out and about but I don't live in a densely populated area.  When we do get a lot of people in the Street View shots we tend to see things that are silly our just plain dumb like crashing into the car with a 4' mast full of cameras on it.  I think I'd rather see the postcard pictures from these points of interest than see someone staring into the camera picking their nose. 

 
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