Dublin: If you happen to spot a black car with the Google logo cruising past you next week, give a wave. This is the famous Google car, used to capture panoramic images for Google Maps’ Street View, and following its mapping of cities around the US and Europe, it has finally arrived on Irish shores.
Street View is Google’s online, interactive, panoramic street-level photographic mapping system that is integrated into Google Maps and aims to give us an up-close-and-personal look at public streets and their environs.
The Google car – equipped with GPS and camera equipment – will be out on the beat next week, snapping images of Irish streets in a training exercise ahead of its task to map the five major Irish cities: Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.
While Google is getting in gear with a test-drive next week, to be followed by the initial phase of mapping, its geospatial technologist Ed Parsons said that the process from gathering data to the final Street View will take any time from 3-4 months up to a year.
The city centres will be covered, and so too will suburban and outlying areas, depending on population density and business activity.
Although Street View is a series of images captured from the Google car, pedestrian zones such as Grafton Street will also be covered, said Parsons. However, he was not able to divulge how this will happen.
To get a taste of what to expect from Street View Ireland, take a look at the panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Full Street View is also viewable on the mobile phone, currently limited to Google’s G1 Android device, which has not been given an official timeline for release here in Ireland.
As for privacy issues surrounding Street View, Iarla Flynn, European policy manager for Google, stated that advanced technology blurs out both faces and registration plates to protect identities and preserve privacy.
Individuals can also report further details captured by Street View that they feel is inappropriate.
By Marie Boran
Pictured: Google gets out and about on the streets of Dublin and other major Irish cities