Street View is fantastic. You can check out a hotel’s façade before you even book a room, you can walk down a street where you remember there was this awesome store, only you can’t remember its name, or you can wander through far-off cities.
Now, you can make your own Street Views, with this camera and software kit from DIY Streetview.
The kits consists of a box containing six cameras that record onto a bank of SD cards. The combined panoramic images are 7500 x 3750 pixels in size, and the angle of coverage is 360˚ and 160˚, which the site says gives 90% coverage and a smaller nadir (blind spot in this case) than that of Google’s own cameras.
There are other tricks. The GPS unit records the direction the cameras are facing, and the tilt of the box is also recorded so that the pictures can all be leveled off in software when you get home. This should be a real help if you use a bike to make the views.
The box comes with everything you need to use it, including 12-volt power supply (you’re going to need a car, or at least a car battery in a back pack to use it) and software that will stitch the pictures together and let you display the results in a web-browser. This could be a great way for mountain bike and bike tour companies to make their own custom walk-through sims of their routes.
The only bad thing is the price: There is none. If you want to buy you have to contact the seller, which always means one thing: if you don’t have great bargaining skills, you’re gonna get ripped off.
Still, I love the idea of this thing. Maybe one day we’ll have an Open Streetview to go with Open Streetmap?