It's tough to even remember how we operated in a world without Google Maps
, as the service has rapidly evolved into a must-have tool in just a few short years since its launch. One of the ways it has expanded is by enabling the world to populate it with data, and there's probably no better case to be made for crowdsourcing than mapping. Now, the company is allowing folks around the globe to create their own Street View. If you're unfamiliar, Street View is a street-level view of popular places on Google Maps, where a camera recorded an image at a given point and allows you to view what that point looks like online. It's almost like being there, through your laptop display.
Google has spent years mapping out Street View locations, but now, it's your turn. A newly introduced feature in the company's "Views" community will allow photo spheres taken from Android smartphones and even select DSLRs to craft 360-degree "virtual tours" of the places you love and visit the most. You won't necessarily have to make them public, but if you do, you'll be contributing to a worldwide cause of mapping out the entire Earth. Here's a bit more from Google:
"To get started, just create photo spheres using your Android phone or a DSLR and then share them on Views. Next, select the photo spheres from your profile and use our new tool to connect them together. Once your photo spheres are connected and published, people can navigate between them on Google Maps, just like they can in Street View."
Google has high hopes for the new feature, suggesting that nonprofits could use this as a way to "document and promote the beautiful places they strive to protect," and it will expand Street View's visibility to different times of the year or day. Hit the Via link below to get started.