Travel virtually through Google’s street views – now in 50 countries — Google Street Views Now In 50 Countries With Addition Of Hungary & Lesotho (Search Engine Land Apr 23)
The Globe and Mail uses interactive mode for this article — Northern exposure: Google Maps gathers a street-level view of Iqaluit (Mar 19) — click on headings or arrow boxes to read sections. Probably best viewed on a tablet.
This week, Iqaluit residents are being treated to an unusual sight: A team of next-generation map makers wandering around town with giant towering cameras strapped to their backs. They’re Google’s newest tools for gathering footage in remote and extreme environments where vehicles can’t go, documenting Nunavut’s icy capital firsthand –and giving the people of Iqaluit a unique chance to have a say in how the world sees and navigates their home.
Postscript (Mar 21): On Iqaluit streets, Google faces new challenges in first day of mapping. – it’s not easy – some roads are trails, and some only exist in the winter, and some are extremely steep. There is a video as well – see Iqualuit in the winter..
For both Google and the city of Iqaluit, Street View is a commercial opportunity. By mapping one of Canada’s more remote communities, the search engine builds on its lead in the growing and lucrative field of digital-location services. The city and its businesses, on the other hand, hope to improve their ability to lure tourists by showing off their exteriors – and in some cases, interiors – on Street View.
This is a guest posting from Marc Kosciejew. He follows privacy issues and is quite right in alerting us to Google’s unauthorized collection of personal data and its implications. Was Google being careless, unethical, arrogant? Evidence points to all of these.
It is disturbing and shocking how Google secretly collected personal information from its (intrusive) Street View mapping project; moreover, it’s particularly troubling that the online giant initially denied its clandestine activities.
“Google Concedes That Drive-By Prvying Violated Privacy”, The New York Times, 12 March 2013
Google acknowledged to state officials (from 38 American states) that it had violated people’s privacy during its Street View mapping project when it casually scooped up passwords, e-mail and other personal information from unsuspecting computer users.
The Street View case arose out of Google’s deployment of special vehicles to photograph the houses and offices lining the world’s streets. But the company also secretly collected personal information — e-mail, medical and financial records, passwords — as it cruised by. It was data-scooping from millions of unencrypted wireless networks.
A worldwide uproar and investigations in at least a dozen countries ensued. An Australian regulator, Stephen Conroy, called it “probably the single greatest breach in the history of privacy.”
Google initially denied any data had been collected from unknowing individuals, then sought to play down what data had been collected and fought with regulators who wanted to examine it. Google said the data had been destroyed, although it turned out some had not been. Some data was purged, but Google is holding the rest until several private lawsuits are resolved.
Privacy advocates and Google critics characterized the overall agreement as a breakthrough for a company they say has become a serial violator of privacy.
Google, for the first time, is required to aggressively police its own employees on privacy issues and to explicitly tell the public how to fend off privacy violations like this one. But some critics worry that the case’s beneficial impact for privacy rights may be limited. Consumer Watchdog, a privacy monitor and frequent Google critic, said that “asking Google to educate consumers about privacy is like asking the fox to teach the chickens how to ensure the security of their coop.”
Several news items today about Google maps running into trouble in European courts while also expanding.
Google Maps facing ban in Germany from The Telegraph in the UK (Mar 9) — Judge in Germany may be inclined to rule that Google owned Motorola is infringing on a patent – and Microsoft is the one suing.
Microsoft originally only sued Motorola Mobility and its German subsidiary over the distribution of the Android app. It only engaged Google as a defendant after Motorola executives denied knowledge of how Google Map servers operated.
In the UK Google Maps is infringing on privacy – Google Street View ‘shows homes despite privacy requests’ (The Telegraph) -
More than half a dozen homeowners in Warnham Court Road asked the web giant not to post images of their properties online after it introduced Street View to Britain in 2009 over fears they could be used by burglars. Google duly removed the photographs.
When Tim Jury, a company director, recently checked on the website, however, he found the Street View car had revisited Warnham Court Road and updated the web with unfettered views of his and neighbours’ homes.
This kind of neglect could get Google in big trouble.
Meantime, Google Maps blithely reported Expanding Street View in Europe (Mar 7)
For the first time, people all over the world can see Street View imagery of Bulgaria. They’ll also have access to panoramas of almost 200 new towns and cities in Russia, and thousands of miles of refreshed imagery of the UK.
Travel with Bing virtually by viewing its new “top of the world imagery” with new technology and updated satellite imagery . Details at New Top of the World and High Resolution Satellite Imagery in Bing Maps Blog (Feb 28)
This performs better on US locations than Canadian ones. Try zooming in as much as possible and then switching to Birds Eye.
Crowdsourcing with Google Maps is receiving a great deal of attention in the news because of North Korea.
Taking a peek at North Korea’s ‘Nuclear Test Facility’ on Google Maps (Globe and Mail, February 13), points to a Google Maps’ satellite view of the Nuclear Test Rd and Facility in North Korea. “Google’s information comes from “citizen cartographers”” Zoom into the map here to see facility.
Google’s use of crowdsourcing for developing maps is the subject of this video interview at Bloomberg Business Week – How Google is Able to Map North Korea. Mike Dobson, founder and president of Telemapics, describes how Google is able to put together a map of North Korea through satellite views and contributions from people using Google Map Maker who have knowledge of North Korea. [Duration 3.52 minutes - after the advertisement]
Crowdsourcing and the value of this “collective intelligence” for creating knowledge is examined in this article – Google’s Map of North Korea stirs social media passion and tensions (The Conversation, January 30, 2013).
Anyone interested can join in. There is an abundance of information about crowdsourcing maps. This wiki at Map Makerpedia on Collaborative Mapping and Crowdsourcing by Rob Lemmens would be a good starting place.
On a smaller scale, you can also use Google Maps to create personal views.
Make Use Of has published Create Google Maps of Your Own To Share & Collaborate With Friends (Feb 12) – with information on creating custom maps and inviting friends to contribute to the map.
The command site: can be used at nearly any search engine – and certainly Google, Bing, Duckduckgo, and Blekko – to search all the pages the search engine has indexed from that domain: eg., site:utoronto.ca marshall mcluhan looks for marshall on all pages in the University of Toronto domain. This is one of the best advanced search methods to know.
Daniel Russell give us another application – use site:maps.google.com to find maps and commentaries other people have posted about places. Brilliant. Watch his 1 Minute Morceau video to see what this is all about.
My example is a web search for site:maps.google.com manitoulin trails.
You will likely see some kml files – kml is a file format used to display geographic data in Google Earth and Google Maps. You must view it in Google maps – and Google gives you a handy link to do so.
You might also find custom Google maps that people have created about an area with comments and photos.
Either way you could find some real treasures that would not normally appear in Google web search results.
Google Updates Earth With “Tour Guide” & More 3D Imagery, Chris Sherman, Search Engine Land (Oct 31)
More fun with Google Earth – “Google has released a new desktop version of Google Earth (version 7) that includes features previously released in its mobile version. The new desktop features include what Google calls a “tour guide” for more than 11,000 locations in over 110 countries and regions, and more 3D imagery for several cities around the world.”
Google Dresses Up Maps With Terrain, Vegetation, Scott Gilberson, Wired – WebMonkey (Oct 26)
Google Maps has a new map view- “with new shading detail to convey terrain information, along with color gradations to depict vegetation and labels for natural land formations.” The screenshot in the posting shows color gradations for Vancouver and area. I don’t see this on maps.google.ca, but in maps.google.com there is an option to view terrain where mountains and valleys appear. Cool.
Google “Opens The Kimono” On How It Builds Maps, by Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Sept 7)
There’s more to online maps than meets the eye.
“Google acquires third party data as the foundation (i.e., US Census Bureau data). Then it adds its own Street View-acquired data (millions of miles of roads driven). Finally the humans go at it:”
Quoted from an article in Atlantic – How Google Builds Its Maps—and What It Means for the Future of Everything – “The sheer amount of human effort that goes into Google’s maps is just mind-boggling. Every road that you see slightly askew in the top image has been hand-massaged by a human. The most telling moment for me came when we looked at couple of the several thousand user reports of problems with Google Maps that come in every day. The Geo team tries to address the majority of fixable problems within minutes . . “