10 secrets and fails to mark 10 years of Google Maps

9 Feb 2015

It’s been 10 years since Google Maps first graced our computer screens and in that time the service has revolutionised how we get around, or at least look at the world.

Before Google Maps, the only way for people to get guidance on where someone was going was with either by praying that you had a competent map-literate co-pilot, or a very expensive GPS guidance system that was designed in such a way that its updates to maps came in dribs and drabs and needed to be uploaded through CD-ROM.

It wasn’t until two Danish digital cartographers brought their own mapping technology as part of their company – Where 2 Technologies – to Google did the ability to create scrollable, interactive maps enter mainstage, along with another company purchased by Google, Keyhole, to develop geospacial software.

Ten years on, Google Maps includes Street View to navigate roadways from a first-person perspective, live traffic updates of where the heaviest traffic is at any given moment and more recently, an integration with many public transport systems to also provide live information.

But while it’s obviously been an amazing technical and logistical achievement to create arguably the most detailed maps on Earth, its scope has also led to some amazing and hilarious images being captured on camera on the ground and via satellites hundreds of miles above orbiting the Earth.

To celebrate the 10-year milestone, here are 10 of the most amazing and strangest images captured by Google Maps so far.

Wonders from above

The wonders of Street View

Google Street View car image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic