The Google Street View Car
The first Street View images were captured in 2007 by an SUV equipped with lasers, cameras, and GPS equipment mounted to the roof of the car. Some Google Street View cars are now brightly wrapped to identify them as part of the street level imagery program. Cars are used by Google to collect imagery in driveable areas.
A Google Street View Camera Car on display at Google’s campus in Mountain View, CA, USA
Street View Trike
In October of 2009, Google introduced the trike setup for capturing Street View imagery in areas not accessible by cars. The idea to outfit a tricycle with a camera and GPS unit was the brainchild of Mechanical Engineer Dan Ratner who is an avid mountain biker. The trike setup is used by Google to traverse such sites as trails, parks, amusement parks, stadiums, and university campuses. Those with intersting properties can petition Google to pay a visit through the Street View Partner Program.
Google Street View trike near Siam Park in Adeje, Tenerife.
The Street View Trekker was even mounted on a boat to capture images along the Amazon river in August of 2011.
Street View Snow Mobile
In February, 2010, the Street View Snow Mobile was announced shortly before the 2010 Winter Olympics which were held in Vancouver, Canada. Again, Ratner brainstormed ideas with his team at Google for capturing mountain imagery and came up with the idea to outfit a snow mobile.
Dan Ratner showcasing the Street View Snow Mobile.
Street View Trolley
In February, 2011, Google introduced the Street View Trolley, designed to navigate narrow corners and envisioned for use in museums but also used for other indoor data capturing efforts. The push cart is part of Google’s strategy to capture indoor Street View imagery. A gallery of some of Google’s indoor collections can be browsed at maps.google.com/museums. Ratner explained, “We needed to develop a system that could easily fit through museum doorways and navigate around sculptures.”
Daniel Ratner, Mechanical Engineer pushes the Street View Trolley in Iraq’s National Museum, followed by Matt Williams, Program Manager, and Alex Starns, Technical Program Manager.
Street View Trekker
For places where access is limited to foot traffic only, Google introduced the Street View Trekker in June of 2012. The backpack mounted image capturing device weighs about 40 pounds. Google recently announced a team wear Trekkers will be capturing images of the Grand Canyon.
Luc Vincent, engineering director, taking the Street View Trekker out on a test run in Tahoe.
Google Street View Underwater
The Catlin Seaview Survey teamed with Underwater Earth and Googleto capture stunning underwater imagery of the Great Barrier Reef. A specially designed underwater camera, SVII, was used to capture the 360-degree underwater pictures. In September of 2012, the first pictures were made available via Google Maps to the public.
Seaview 360-degree camera.