Detroit before D.C., Google Maps? Really?
When Google Street View was first launched way back in May 2007, I was disappointed that D.C. wasn’t among the five starting cities (New York City, San Francisco, Denver, Las Vegas, and Miami) , but wasn’t too upset. This is only the tip of the iceberg, I figured, and D.C. would be added shortly.
Well, I was half right. 43 little cameras spring up on Google Maps now when you hit the “Street View” button, but not a single one even comes close to D.C. We’re coming up on the one year anniversary of Street View’s inception and, though Fairbanks, AK and Madison, WI have Street View, our nation’s capital is still Street View-less. D.C. was still a moderately important city, last time I checked; how could this be?
I shot an email over to the good folks at Google asking if/when they might be correcting this omission of theirs. The response I got, while good-natured, hardly cleared anything up. Elaine, of Google’s Global Communications & Public Affairs, first extolled the virtues of Street View (calling it “a useful and interesting tool for users everywhere”) before breaking the bad news.
We have gathered imagery in Washington DC, but we do not have any launch plans to announce at this time. The time between gathering imagery and making it available in Google Maps varies by city and is dependent on a variety of factors.
What kind of factors? Maybe Google is being slowed down by some silly red tape, courtesy of Homeland Security, the Park Service or any of the three thousand other bureaucracies which claim jurisdiction in the District?
I can’t get into many specifics, but we the imagery collection time varies by city given conditions like size of the region being covered (since we cover more than just the core downtown area), weather, etc. We also then spend time ensuring the quality and accuracy of images before posting them.
Sorry, D.C. residents, but it looks like it might be a while. While you wait, check out a few of the locations which have been added to Street View:
- Spokane, WA: Both D.C. and Spokane, WA have the word “Washington” in their name, except one is home to some of the most influential people and institutions in the world and one’s claim to fame is hosting the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world.
- Manchester, NH: I lived in New Hampshire for three years, and unless you have a great passion for New England foliage or winter, there’s not much to see here.
- Yosemite National Park: A National Park before D.C.? But we’ve got at least two dozen of those!
- Boise, ID and Minneapolis, MN: If we’re going to be including hangouts of Senator Larry Craig, Union Station is a must-have.
- Albuquerque, NM: Rhymes with turkey. And that’s all I have to say about that.