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Google Street View Wants You to Direct New Tricycle Imager 115

An anonymous reader writes "Google is taking suggestions for where you'd like to see the new Street View Trike go. Your favorite park, hiking trail, zoo, school campus hangout or outdoor mall could be going online thanks to Google Street View's new 250 pound tricycle, complete with camera and GPS. According to the press release: 'The Street View trike began as a 20% project by Daniel Ratner, a Senior Mechanical Engineer on the Street View team. "I began thinking about building a bicycle-based Street View system after realizing how many interesting places around the world — ranging from historic landmarks to beautiful trails to shopping districts — aren't accessible by car," says Dan. "When I'm riding the trike, so many people come up to me and ask where it's off to next or how they can get imagery of their favorite spot, so I can't wait to see what our users come up with."'"
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Google Street View Wants You to Direct New Tricycle Imager

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  • Famous Parks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sebilrazen ( 870600 ) <> on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:05PM (#29773007)
    Amsterdam - Vondelpark.
    New York - Central Park
    • Re:Famous Parks (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:43PM (#29773331) Homepage Journal

      New York - Central Park

      I actually just saw one of these guys today at Rockefeller Center: []

      • by Dan541 ( 1032000 )

        The driver seems particularly vulnerable to English hicks and their pitchforks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Why do parks? There are millions of images of the more famous parks, tens of thousands of less famous parks - and the rest, everyone who cares about them, already have images.

        How about driving it to places in the news - current events places. Phillip Garrido's home would be high on my list. Open the gates, and scope it all out. Drive around the block, through the neighbor's back yards, get everything.

        I can come up with more - anyone who can't simply doesn't read the news. Screw those parks.

        • by TheLink ( 130905 )
          > There are millions of images of the more famous parks

          Technologically they can just stitch all those images to recreate 3D models of those parks - there's already tech available that's used in Microsoft Photosynth and other similar stuff.

          However, the problem I see is copyright and other laws. Google doesn't have the legal rights to those images that it wants.
    • I was going to suggest around the ring of the LHC but it is not a US location nor would their GPS work 100m I suggested the Tevatron at Fermilab which is US-based but will still have the GPS problem.
  • SDSU (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:06PM (#29773011) Homepage Journal
    Whoa, there's an awesome streetview of San Diego State University [] in there!

    I wonder if the camera is sensitive enough to see the classroom overcrowding, herpes under the skirts of sorority sisters, and traces of cocaine on the Homeland Security [] majors' noses!
  • Stalking (Score:3, Funny)

    by Romancer ( 19668 ) <> on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:07PM (#29773029) Journal

    Let's send it to that stalked ladys house: Amber Duick
    Toyota emails will have nothing on the Google trike showing up in her back yard.

  • So when do we get the Google street view segway?

    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
      The bike sounds like a good idea, and I believe several people could benefit from helping Google and doing exercise.
      On the other hand, I believe the large load of the trike is batteries for long autonomy. A Segway would help to drain those batteries.
  • by AxDx ( 1184351 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:12PM (#29773059)
    Number One Observatory Circle, Washington D.C.
  • Places not to go (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cromar ( 1103585 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:14PM (#29773075)

    Your favorite park, hiking trail, zoo, school campus hangout or outdoor mall could be going online thanks to Google Street View...

    All of my favorite places (especially hiking trails) would be way on the bottom of my list of things they should photo. Call me selfish, but a lot of my favorite places are places I can go to get away from people, and I'd like to share them as little as possible :)

  • the grand canyon (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mydots ( 1598073 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:31PM (#29773243)
    how about a mule rig with all the cameras climbing down (or up) the grand canyon.
  • by swanzilla ( 1458281 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:32PM (#29773261) Homepage

    According to the press release: 'The Street View trike began as a 20% project by Daniel Ratner, a Senior Mechanical Engineer on the Street View team.

    Maybe if they would have leveraged Dan more than 20% for this project, he could have put together a collection method that didn't involve a 250 pound trike.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It's Google's "20 percent time" [].

      We offer our engineers “20-percent time” so that they’re free to work on what they’re really passionate about. Google Suggest, AdSense for Content and Orkut are among the many products of this perk.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eln ( 21727 )

        We offer our engineers "20-percent time" so that they're free to work on what they're really passionate about.

        So apparently Dan is really passionate about making interns lug a 250-pound tricycle all over creation. Dan must be some kind of sadist.

        • by Eevee ( 535658 )
          250 pounds? (That's 113 Kg for everyone else.) Bah! In Europe, they use cargo bikes for delivering all sorts of heavy loads such as furniture. I've seen advertisements for front-loader trikes that carry 500 pounds...that's on top of a bike that is likely to weigh 60 to 70 pounds itself.
        • So apparently Dan is really passionate about making interns lug a 250-pound tricycle all over creation. Dan must be some kind of sadist.

          On the plus side, it will give fodder for a new College Humor Original [].

        • Why does it weigh 250 lbs?

          GPS: 4 oz.
          Camera 8 oz each. 4? 6? 3 pounds.
          Small box linux with big honking hard drive. 3 lbs?
          Monopod support. 3 lbs.

          So we are talking 10 lbs total.

          Add another 5 lbs for batteries to keep it going all day.

          Upgrade the cameras to something with a real lens and still rain proof -- + 2lbs.

          So at this point we're under 20 lbs.

          This is a level that you could put in a back pack and get the truly back country trails.

          (Please Google: I'd like to bid on the contract for Willmore Wilderness.

  • A few ideas (Score:3, Interesting)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <onyxruby@[ ] ['com' in gap]> on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:36PM (#29773287)
    The Riverwalk in San Antonio, an old school public works project that is off limits to cars. How about some of our nations landmarks that have been closed off to traffic? There are countless trails and bike paths in Minnesota with wonderful scenery. Basically find any place that is a famous landmark, assume that can't drive in front of it and that's a place you should visit.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      The riverwalk's river is caked with duck shit and the pathways are cluttered with unscrupulous ethnic merchants trying to hock cheap shit up the asses of giddy uniformed basic training grads and their fat, ugly girlfriends.

      But as far as Texas goes, yeah, the riverwalk is a pretty nice.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by onyxruby ( 118189 )
        Walk past the tourist trap part and you'll find a pretty decent park that is well worth seeing of it's own right. Problem is that most people don't go past the tourist trap portion and have a warped view of the riverwalk.
  • The main corporate Microsoft Campus.
  • brilliant! (Score:4, Funny)

    by elloGov ( 1217998 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:41PM (#29773319)
    Playboy mansion
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:52PM (#29773423) Homepage

    This is just the beginning. Next up,

    • Google SecurityView - security cameras can be fed into Google, and will appear as live inserts. Total coverage of all 7-11 and Starbucks outlets.
    • Google AndroidView - all Google Android phones will take pictures of their surroundings when not otherwise busy, to be loaded into StreetView.
    • Google HiRes - updates to StreetView will all be with the newer high resolution cameras, replacing the low-rez images still up for many older locations.
  • by benjamindees ( 441808 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:52PM (#29773427) Homepage

    One feature that I think would be really useful, for biking especially, is to be able to find the "flattest" route between two points. Around here, they have been converting old railroad rights of way into bicycle paths, which is nice because they are extremely well-graded. But I'm not even sure where many of them are. I would probably bike more places if I knew I would only have to contend with as few hills as necessary to get there.

    Does the tricycle (or the street view car) collect altitude data as well as latitude and longitude? Would it even be theoretically possible to add this in the future?

    • You mean like this? [] Yes, google really should do something like that as an integrated feature of google maps. (As useful as that tool is, it sometimes tells you to bike sideways off bridges.)
    • Interesting, I was biking last week and thinking of the same exact thing. Developing a google maps application that finds the path between two points that requires the least amount of energy expenditure.

  • i'd like to see the trike sent to the moon. and stay there.

    a web site with remote control options, like that guy who allowed people to control his 2x2 grid of christmas lights over the internet, would be icing on the cake.

  • Obligatory (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "Your moms house, you can see me coming out of it with a very satisfied look on my face"
  • In a Canoe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lazarus ( 2879 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @05:54PM (#29773457) Homepage Journal
    Throw the thing into a canoe and start mapping waterways. Some of the most amazing scenery in the world is only accessible by water (still). If people saw it on-line perhaps they would be motivated to rent a canoe or kayak and get out on the water.

    Practically, that thing won't fit in a canoe (unless it is a voyageur canoe), you would probably need the camera mounted on some sort of steadycam, and your going to have to pay attention to battery life. But I think that would be a very cool project.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MRe_nl ( 306212 )

      Throw the thing into a canoe...

    • by Maniacal ( 12626 )

      Google StreeView - Grand Canyon

      I think you're on to something.

      • This is pretty much what I was thinking. Perhaps a series of cameras on a line between the canoe and a blimp overhead to capture as much detail of the walls of the canyon as possible?
    • If people saw it on-line perhaps they would be motivated to rent a canoe or kayak and get out on the water.

      I'm sorry I don't share your sentiment, but the last thing I want is all my cool hiking trails and canoeing spots full of people, families, whiny kids, garbage and commerce.

      That's where I go to get away from them!

    • D00d!! That's brilliant. I get a feel for what you suggested by using Google sat view, but your idea is Nobel-winning good.

  • All around the bike path network of Perth, Australia. And I'd like the job of riding it 'round them.
  • Google should do this:
    Develop a special sign / sticker that you can stick on your property - it will work kind of like a robots.txt file but for your home.
    Then your home should be blurred out from Street View. Also, your home address should not be searchable via Google Maps.
    Perhaps the sign / sticker could have special options which allow you to customize what to blur out.. eg. blur out the windows only, blur out the car / garage only, etc.

    • by Alok ( 37687 )

      There is already a robots.txt equivalent for houses, I believe its called a 'wall' - earlier some of the Street View images were being taken from a height above most walls but iirc there was some protest and Google lowered them so that the cameras can't accidentally peek over fences etc.

      I don't see why an address shouldn't be searchable via maps (of any kind). Hmm - it would be interesting to know if people consider an address to be 'owned' by the house owner as well, or a public label (like lat/long coords

      • by Dan541 ( 1032000 )

        An address is a label attached to a geographic location.

        You don't own the coordinates to your house so why would you own the address?

      • by Q-Hack! ( 37846 ) *

        At least here in the US, owning a home means you are in the public record. As noted by all the junk mail I receive.


    • Perhaps the sign / sticker could have special options which allow you to customize what to blur out.. eg. blur out the windows only, blur out the car / garage only, etc.

      Blur out the tasteless landscaping that would dissuade potential homebuyers from coming to your open house? Selective blurring to increase property appeal... I like it!

    • Yep, you should be able to block you address from being searchable, that way I can assume anybody who can find my house is at least intelligent enough to search for the house numbers on either side. One way of ensuring a higher class of visitor. P
  • > Google Street View Wants You to Direct New Tricycle...

    No, they don't...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would suggest taking the trike for an evening spin through Nickerson Gardens in Watts. I think even my fellow privacy advocates would be supportive of such an expedition.

  • It doesn't sound like the 250 lb. trike could actually make nearly the whole journey, but it could photograph some stretches adjacent to where the trail crosses roads or skirts towns, at least. There are even a few places in the Smoky Mountains national park that come to mind, where the AT's grades are light and the trail moderately broad, so the cam could photograph some of trail markers, places where other Smokies trails cross, join or split, and some of the hiking shelters, for a few practical uses in he

    • > Eventually, there could be trail photos for all the National Parks, at least
      > for the most major routes.

      That will be sad.

    • They could get by with less. What if they just took panoramic views from the peaks of mountains? From there they could include other points of interest, like outcropping or waterfalls, etc.
  • ..them to quit screwing around with all this stuff and just get my road on the darn map. It's been five years. Please?
  • when i go off on a trail, i'm there to enjoy the view... making the effort of going to see the view makes the view beautiful...

    we all saw pictures of the Everest, why are prople climbing it to see the same damned thing?

  • Do not send this thing through a college, in 5 minutes you'd have to call the school and make a claim that 12 drunk students stumbled upon the RoboTrike and stole the damn thing.
  • How about some natural landmarks?

    Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, WY
    Craters of the Moon National Park, ID

    Then there's a couple of just neat places:
    Big Brutus, West Mineral, KS
    Castle Rock, Quinter, KS
    the Bonner Springs Renaissance Festival Park, Bonner Springs, KS

    And one really obvious one:
    The Playboy Mansion

  • The playboy mansion, obviously. But what catagory to put it under.

  • open API? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drDugan ( 219551 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @07:32PM (#29774269) Homepage

    I'd really like to see Google open the API so anyone can upload 360 degree image sets and add to the mapping collection.

    Inside and on top of buildings, police stations, museums, libraries, schools, government offices, cemeteries, amusement parks, rivers, caves, airports, ports, national parks, trails, lakes, campsites, businesses, military bases, people's homes, backyards, front yards, hospitals, casinos, daycare centers, bars, strip clubs,...

    I say, let's post online detailed maps and images of everything and every single place possible, then give it all to one company to share back to us with ads. This is where these efforts will lead. Oh, wait, that doesn't sound as good (er, not evil) any more.

    I'm not sure - but is there a way to use all these images in applications that are not Google? Could others have a license to create a 3D first-person environment simulation of the real world if there were enough stitch-together images or 3D camera imagery? Would Google allow this?

  • Then I'd suggest:

    Tioga Pass (elev. approx. 10000 feet)
    Pike's Peak (elev. approx. 14000 feet)

  • From the file of Capt. Obvious....

    Bourbon Street, New Orleans. During Mardi Gras.

  • It would be cool to have Street View images of places that aren't already accessible on Google Maps, but I've got a more fundamental question.

    Why aren't these places on Google Maps already?

    The best way to see my suburb is on foot, via a network of footpaths for pedestrians and cyclists. Not one of these paths shows up in Get Directions on Google Maps. Your favourite park or hiking trail is already walkable, and who knows, it might even be useful - even if it's not as cool as riding a trike through Legola

  • So close

    The Front Entrance []

    but so far.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday October 16, 2009 @10:46PM (#29775283)

    ... the Appalacian Trail.

    Gov. Sanford tells me its beautiful this time of year.

  • And environs.

  • Central Park (Score:2, Interesting)

    by djdevon3 ( 947872 )
    I've only seen Central Park in movies. I'd be interested in having the ability to roam around there. Also another nice idea would be some of the larger botanical gardens with alternate views for each season to see what different climate zones look like at different times of the year. It would be like taking a tourist vacation without ever leaving the house. OK this whole concept is starting to feel a little total recall'ish.
  • It should not go anywhere and Google Streetview should be kept out of those areas.
  • The London Cycling Campaign publish a pile of maps for London showing the best way to go for bikes. It would be great if they were in Google maps and Google route searches included them. It's a big hole in the otherwise brilliant service. - Christopher

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.