The History of Google Earth & Google Street View
We look at the history of Google Earth & Street View and explain why they are so useful in land surveying.
Article By: Francesca Burke
Last Update: July 2019
Origins of Google Earth
Google Earth was first released in 2001 and quickly became part of our everyday lives, allowing the user a detailed view of buildings and streets from various angles. The maps are made by superimposing aerial photography, images, and geographic information onto a 3D globe that users can navigate using a keyboard, mouse or touchscreen. Users can search using addresses or coordinates.
Some nations have banned Google Earth as it is seen as a threat to national security while some sensitive buildings and areas are pixelated to prevent the programme from potentially aiding terrorists. Additionally, the entire concept of Google Earth is often viewed as an invasion of privacy and a little too ‘big brother’ for comfort.
Google Street View
In 2007, Google Maps and Google Earth released a new programme, Google Street View. Users can view panoramic images of roads from positions in the roads themselves. High-quality cameras, GPS and lasers are all used to capture images and Street View is now available on computers and mobile applications for Android and iOS – a godsend for any lost tourist!
Uses in Surveying
As well as being really useful for finding our way to and from surveys, Google Earth and Street View are crucial tools for any land surveying company in the 21st century. We can get a good idea of what a site looks like before we quote a job, which is useful for planning the job and setting a price. Surveying dense woodland, for example, always takes longer than surveying an open field and may require more surveyors. It’s also useful to know if we might have to take specialist equipment for the terrain and how far from our office the site is, so we can factor in travel time when quoting a job.
Want to learn more about Google Earth? It’s available to launch here. You can also learn more about the different versions of Google Earth and how they’ve evolved in this useful Unearth Labs blog post. Want to use an alternative map system but don’t know where to look? Try this article. Happy mapping!
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