Google opens up its mapping functionality to allow for DIY imagery.

Some things are just better in Street View. Sometimes you want not just to see photos, but to interact with them, zooming in and zooming out, and panning up and panning down. Sometimes you want images that are not quite videos, and not quite GIFs, but dynamic in their own way. Explorable.

Sometimes, in other words, you just want images that double as maps. 

Google's Street View has long afforded that kind of immersive experience—but only for Google-captured and Google-sanctioned imagery. Now, though, it's opening up the Street View functionality to users. If you have the right tools, you can do from your computer what those Street View cars do from the road, turning panoramic photos—and their location data—into continuous, interactive images.  

To do it, you'll need a DSLR camera or, yep, an Android phone—both of which will allow you to take panoramic photos ("Photo Spheres"). Share those spheres on Google Views, select the ones you want included in your Street View scene, and the Street View feature will connect them into a continuous experience. As Google product manager Evan Rapoport sums it up: "Once your photo spheres are connected and published, people can navigate between them on Google Maps, just like they can in Street View."

Here's Rapaport's own creation: a Street View experience of Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland. "I built this from photo spheres I created with both my Android phone (Nexus 4) and my DSLR camera," he explains. "Now everyone can virtually explore this beautiful location I visited on my vacation."

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. The facade of a casino in Atlantic City.
    Photos

    Photographing the Trumpian Urbanism of Atlantic City

    Brian Rose’s new book uses the deeply troubled New Jersey city as a window into how a developer-turned-president operates.

  2. Life

    Who’s Really Buying Property in San Francisco?

    A lot of software developers, according to an unprecedented new analysis.

  3. a rendering of the moon village with a view of Earth
    Design

    Designing the First Full-Time Human Habitat on the Moon

    SOM, in partnership with the ESA and MIT, wants to accommodate research and maybe even tourism on the moon.

  4. A photo of an electric scooter rider
    Transportation

    Electric Scooters Sent Nearly 250 Riders to L.A. Emergency Rooms Last Year. Is That a Lot?

    A UCLA study tracked a year of injuries from e-scooter use in two Southern California hospitals. How serious a safety risk are they?

  5. Equity

    The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

    Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.