Views from the Street

Google Maps


Google maps has long been the leader in online mapping.

People are familiar with the look and feel of this simple yet highly informative mapping base.

Directions, satellite overlay, time lapse imagery, street view, place markers, business locations, website integrations… Google maps packs it all into one powerful yet quite simple map interface.

One of the components/integrations of Google Maps that I find very, very useful is Street View.

Street View

It is almost always of great convenience to first ‘cyber visit’ a location without physically stepping foot in that location. Using Street View provides you that perspective and opportunity, all from the comfort of your office or living room.

Further, Street View can provide valuable insight into in situ realities.

Where exactly is the Cortes Island Community Hall and how is it situated at the intersection???


How is the posted street sign spelled??? One ‘r’ or two???


Ooooh… that’s a mistake… note to self contact MoTI and requested updated street signage with correct road spelling.

I wonder if this property has a posted house number that is clearly visible???


Street view is also quite useful in locating infrastructure and roadside features. I recently used it to verify approximate locations of fire hydrants for a small water service area and included hyperlinks to street view perspectives for each individual hydrant.


While Google Street View is by far the most ubiquitous and extensive street view service available it is not the only option. Microsoft’s Bing maps has a StreetSide integration for some major urban centers. There are heaps of regional service options as well but my favourite alternate option to Google Street View is Mapillary.


Mapillary is a crowd source project started in Sweden that collects street level,  georeferenced photos from anywhere in the world. It has gained considerable traction and global usage since 2015 and the number of images contributed continues to climb significantly.

Users can download the application onto their phone and capture images as they walk, bike, or drive along routes.

Images are then uploaded, processed and stitched together into a public display and mapping interface like this.

From there it is easy enough to repeat street view captures and/or capture segments multiple times from multiple angles. All free, easy to use, repeatable, and useful street level image capture that has proven invaluable as reference material.

Useful, powerful stuff.

Happy street mappin’.