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Google Maps' Street View Comes to D.C.

Today, a long-awaited development has come to pass that ensures people will see our nation's capital in a dramatically new light.

That's right: Google has finally added interactive "Street View" panoramas of much of the Washington area to its Google Maps site.

googlestreetview.jpg

The Mountain View, Calif., info-empire launched Street View back in May 2007 with coverage of five cities, then steadily expanded it across other parts of the country. Back in January, during a tour of Google's headquarters, I asked when the District would join their ranks and was told that Google had already taken the necessary photos.

And yet another 10 months came and went in which Web users trying to find their way in the Washington area were stuck with the same old aerial shots on Google's site.

(Street Views are also coming online today for Baltimore and Seattle, so maybe Google just had something against cities with really bad baseball teams... no, wait, Kansas City got Street View months ago.)

So what happened? Google spokeswoman Elaine Filadelfo said yesterday that the company elected to reshoot some photographs of local streets in a higher resolution.

To judge from the Street View scenery on display now, these photos date from late winter to mid summer. Block-by-block coverage seems to be limited to the District and its closest neighbors; outside the Beltway or, in some cases, the District itself, you can only get Street Views of major thoroughfares.

Filadelfo did knock down one theory that's been suggested in some of my Web chats, that the Feds told Google these perspectives represented a security risk. "We did have some discussions with relevant local and federal authorities, but I would not characterize it as having to get permission," she said. Indeed, you can "walk" up to such government institutions as the Capitol and the Treasury Department (although a stretch of Route 110 just east of the Pentagon doesn't come with any Street Views).

Now that you can zoom into a Google Map of a local road and look around as if you were standing right on that sidewalk, we can all take our turn at a popular Street View game--seeing how many photos your car/bike/dog/cat/self shows up in. Report back here with your observations!

By Rob Pegoraro  |  November 4, 2008; 2:58 PM ET
Categories:  The Web  
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Comments

Now if they would only update their satellite view of downtown DC. It's well over a few years old. You can still see the old convention center, and the new one is not finished yet.

Posted by: inlogan | November 4, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm sort of happy to see that our street near Springfield was included. Based on the pumpkins on our stoop, the picture was taken during the first week of November last year.

Posted by: jerryravens | November 4, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

It's about time! This took forever to process. One thing that is unique about the Google Street View Imagery produced in DC, is, that Google has used its high resolution camera in some areas (South East Areas). The same camera used to capture images like these in Europe:

http://streetviewgallery.corank.com

Great Work Google!

M

Posted by: mapper99 | November 4, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

What dufus designed this route? The only important street in the Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria, Mt. Vernon Ave., isn't mapped, but dozens of residential streets in the area are. This makes no sense.

Posted by: slar | November 4, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Hmm ... Silver Spring seems to be the only portion of Montgomery County with any coverage. Bethesda, Chevy Chase & other areas (even inside the beltway) have only cursory coverage (e.g., views from the Beltway).

It seems that our Virginia and Prince Georges neighbors were more fortunate.

Posted by: jaepstein63 | November 4, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

It's very random. They did all of our street in Annapolis except for the 75 feet in front of and to the sides of my house. Weird. And did both sides of spa creek, but not the bridge - maybe that is a security thing? And yes, the complete omission of Bethesda is baffling.

Posted by: mdsails | November 4, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

They nailed my block perfectly.

My bet is that it's Spring 2007. I can see my car, too.

My question? There are absolutely no pedestrians on the streets.

Maybe the reason Google waited so long was so they could digitize out random passers-by on the street?

They must've on my address: an alley access door is open, which means that either me or my neighbor were taking out the recycle bins when the photo was snapped. Neither of us are apparent.

Nor is anyone. It is impossible to have no one walking around in Georgetown on a sunny day.

Plus I swear there's a UFO flying overhead when I went to the overhead view.

Posted by: Georgetwoner | November 5, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Street View is a neat technology, but as you point out it for now uses static images that become dated. When real(or near) real time images are the norm, that will be a game changer.

Posted by: JuicyJuice | November 5, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

The block I grew up on in Baltimore is not covered. How unfortunate.

Posted by: tegularius | November 5, 2008 1:57 AM | Report abuse

The photos were taken sometime after Oct. 2007 and before Feb. 2008. The street view shows our cars in front of the house we moved into in October 2007, and I sold one of the cars in the driveway in February. jerryravens' guess of Nov. 2007 is probably about right.

Posted by: surlychick | November 5, 2008 6:57 AM | Report abuse

The leaves at the curb and the remaining leaves on the big oak tree in front of our house indicate that the photos of my block were taken in late October. And someone was on our front lawn near the house, because there's a digital smear there.

Posted by: gilbertbp | November 5, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

NOW IF ONLY GOOGLE WOULD ALLOW YOU TO CHANGE AN INCORRECT ADDRESS ++++ EFFORTLESSLY ++++ THAT MIGHT HELP
------------------------------
A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FOLLOWS -- UGG
-----------------------------------


CONGRATULATIONS MR PRESIDENT & COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

DID BARACK OBAMA RECEIVE A ++++ MANDATE ++++ TONIGHT ???????

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

YES AND NO

President-elect Obama CLEARLY changed history tonight by becoming America's first African-American President and arguably that would not have occurred as it did without a mandate.

THE ECONOMY

Be it Joe the Plumber or most other Americans, the vast majority of Americans have lost much from any existing retirement accounts and any real estate or stock investments. Obama received a mandate to correct that, but there was not the degree of cohesion across the board as to HOW that was to be accomplished.

He ABSOLUTELY DID NOT receive a mandate to become a modern American Robin Hood, taking from 'the rich' [?] to give to the poor. He DID NOT receive a mandate to continue, or begin anew, wasteful public spending programs.

Did Obama receive a mandate to return jobs to America? YES ++++ BUT ++++ at what wages and where does this money come from? Computer support positions went to India, not because America does not have the expertise, but because when Internet access providers TRIPLE your monthly fees, so they can PAY American workers, they will loose clients BIG TIME. THE DEVIL'S IN THE DETAILS, IT SEEMS.

THE WAR IN IRAQ

So far, America has paid for the Democracy but has yet to receive any dividend from that major investment. So maybe it indirectly was about the cost of energy and America needs to see a return on that investment SOMEHOW.

THE WAR ON TERROR

A mandate was clearly given by the American people to address this issue ASAP, wherever it arises. The obvious issue is Iran, or more precisely stated, the radical Islamic leadership within Iran. If this is not affected peacefully and VERY SOON, Israel will address it, of necessity.

THE MARKETS

The markets need to address the mortgage crisis EFFECTIVELY and since they cannot do that themselves, further efforts to stabilize them are mandated and yes, that was a mandate.

HEALTH CARE

YES a mandate, but questionable funding for same.

GUIDANCE FROM MCCAIN ON MILITARY MATTERS AS WAS OFFERED IN THE CONCESSION SPEECH.

Obama would be wise to confidentially, even secretly, listen up well here.


Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | November 5, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I found people, but not at their private addresses. Search for 8740 Colesville Rd‎ silver spring md. You can see people on the street.

Posted by: EconGirl2 | November 5, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Pretty interesting to see your own home on a map. But remember, as with all new technologies, dangers can also exist. Predators are using Craigslist to lure underage kids to meet. Predators have also used MySpace and Facebook to convince kids they’re talking to their peers, and not some pedophile living in a nearby city. After all, in part thanks to the Internet, pedophiles have no jurisdictional or geographic borders when trying to reach our kids. If you’re a parent living in the DC area, go onto “Street View” and check to see if your home is featured on the site. Keep in mind, if your children happened to be playing in the front yard the day the camera crew drove down your street, they too will have been photographed and will be visible for anyone with an Internet connection to see. If you see objectionable images, ask Google to have them removed. Check out stopinternetpredators.org for more information on the potential dangers of emerging technologies. We celebrate new technologies for sure, just want to also make sure they're safeguarded to protect our kids.

Posted by: srumenap1 | November 6, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Too funny. Going down Key Blvd right outside Rosselyn. One screen it's a lovely, sunny, fall day. The next click and you have a snow covered street.

My research shows the season's first snowfall was December 5th or 6th 2007.

Posted by: BillKillick | November 7, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Just emailed you.

I have added StreetView to www.FranklyMLS.com , it is active for new lsitings and will be rolled out to all listings in a day or so.

So all those bank owned properties with no photos... now have photos!

Posted by: frank26 | November 11, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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