11 Fascinating Facts About Google Maps
1. How much data has Google Maps accumulated?
2. How often are the images updated?
Depending on data availability, aerial and satellite images are updated every two weeks. Street View images are updated as quickly as possible, though Google wasn’t able to offer specific schedules, due to its dependence on factors such as weather, driving conditions, etc.
3. How does Google Maps monitor inappropriate content captured on Street View?
According to a Google spokesperson, users occasionally report “odd or unpleasant moments” captured on Google Maps — usually in Street View. The team works quickly to review and take action, if necessary. Users can report an image by clicking “Report a problem” at the bottom of the image, and those requests are regularly monitored and responded to by Google employees.
4. Does Google blur every individual’s face?
Google employs automatic face and license plate blurring technology to protect people’s privacy in Street View, and users can even request additional blurring. Aerial imagery provides much less detail and resolution.
5. Who owns the satellites used for aerial views?
The satellite imagery for both Google Maps and Google Earth comes from a broad range of sources and third-party providers. The same information is available to anyone who licenses or purchases it from widely available public, government, commercial and private sector sources.
6. What about private areas?
Those who own the satellites that Google uses may choose to blur certain areas before the satellite and aerial images reach Google. Governments can petition satellite owners to blur certain sensitive geographical areas, as well.
Street View imagery is only available for public roads and private venues through the Street View Partner Program.
7. In which countries can you go inside museums and other buildings via Street View?
Google has worked with thousands of business owners in eight countries to bring Street View technology inside buildings. The Business Photos service is currently available in the U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands. In addition to various businesses, you can virtually walk around the White House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other famous landmarks.
Through the Google Art Project, you can also check out static images of art collections from 156 museums around the world.
8. In the history of Google Maps, how many Street View images have been taken?
The Street View team has taken tens of millions of images since the Street View project began in 2007, and they’ve driven more than 5 million unique miles of road.
9. What type of camera is used for Street View?
Google originally started with fewer camera lenses and lower quality imagery, but now the Street View camera systems have 15 lenses and can produce photos at about 65 megapixel resolution.
10. How do the images become seamless panoramics?
The 15 lenses in the Street View camera system take photos in various directions, and adjacent cameras on the car take overlapping pictures. The team then aligns the photos and stitches them together to create a continuous 360-degree panoramic image, using imaging techniques to lessen the seams.
11. How does the Google Maps team photograph places where the Street View cars cannot fit or travel?
In addition to the fleet of Street View cars, Google employs trikes, trolleys and snowmobiles. The Trike (pictured) captures parks, trails, college campuses, stadiums and other areas that an SUV can’t access.
The Trolley, which looks like a cross between a pushcart and box-shaped robot, is used for navigating a building’s interior and doorways.
The Snowmobile captures images across snowy terrains. The team came up with the idea when Vancouver held the 2010 Winter Olympics. The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort was enthusiastic about capturing images of Whistler Mountain.