From Vans to Cars to the Trike
At first, they used a special van, a double-decker looking thing, which roamed the streets in selected cities. In order to increase coverage, street view cars replaced the van. About a dozen countries around the world in Europe, North America and in the Asia-Pacific region have street level views available. The Street View car fleet then combed the world so users could remotely view countless public streets.
For even more mobility to photograph national parks, campuses, and trails, a curious looking anomaly (that resembles a cross between a giraffe, an ice cream cart and a bike), known as the "Trike" is used. These new vehicles can cover places that would otherwise be inaccessible. Nine directional cameras, along with a GPS unit and laser range finders, take care of business. Many of these are in the world at any given time. If you’re curious about this aspect of the process, Tips for Taking Better Panorama Photographs might be a good read for you.
It takes months to collect all these views and of course, longer for an entire country. Foul weather is a factor in delaying the photo collection process. All images are then taken to the Google Offices for processing. Pegman is the yellow icon-man that appears on Google Street View as a virtual guide. So now you know what the Google map Street View camera vehicle looks like. The resulting views you see on your screen are really an amazing feature when you step back and think about it.
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