A maze of streets
In October 2008 I got very lost on the way to the dog park at the top of Tinakori Hill. There’s a maze of tightly wound streets up there, and the street map in my car had a spiral binding intruding on the most crucial areas. It also has no ‘zoom in’ feature. A 15 minute trip took me 45 minutes.
The easiest route would have been up Orangi Kaupapa Road. Unfortunately, it’s one way only, downhill, for a very good reason, as you can see by looking at it on Street View.
If only I’d had access then to Street View I could have ‘driven’ the route before even leaving home, noting landmarks along the way.
Street View arrived in December 2008
Google Street View arrived in New Zealand in December 2008. It doesn’t cover every square inch of the country, but it has a lot to offer. This 2 minute Google Video provides a good introduction.
A specially equipped Google car has driven along many streets in New Zealand, taking photos in 360 degrees as it went. These photos are all blended together into a continuous image.
Zoom in, zoom out, pan it all about
You are able to pick any spot where Street View is available, zoom in and out, turn around, move along, and to a certain extent, change your angle of view.
It’s not a live image: it doesn’t show what’s going on right now on your street, but it’s phenomenally useful.
To call up Street View first find a location on Google Maps. For example, search for ‘Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, New Zealand’. A Wellington map is displayed with a couple of markers. Marker B shows the right place: 46 Waring Taylor Street.
The yellow fellow
Now, from the zoom control at top left of the map, drag the little yellow person over the map and wait a moment without letting go of the mouse button.
After a moment or two many streets will be outlined in blue.
Drop the yellow person on any outlined street — perhaps Waring Taylor Street. The ‘map’ view is replaced by ‘Street View’, showing a photo of the portion of street where you dropped the yellow icon.
Walk the line
Drag up and down or left and right inside the map to turn the view.
In the middle of the view you should see a white line with arrows. Click on an arrow to move in that direction. The view ‘moves’ as though you were driving or walking along. Meanwhile, a small street map is inset and displays where you are and which way you’re looking.
Move along Waring Taylor St towards Lambton Quay. On the corner you’ll see the Department of Internal Affairs logo displayed on the side of the building, below the much larger TSB sign. Double click on the person walking through the doorway for a closer view.
Now if you need to visit the offices of Communitynet Aotearoa you will know just where to go.
Are you on Street View?
Could you use Street View on your website? If you provide any street addresses, you sure could. It’s free, and all you need is a link that you can copy from the map itself.
Check Google Maps now to see if your offices are visible on Street View.
Written by Miraz Jordan for, and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, August 2009. This article has been modified for publication here.