Google today announced that it will allow anyone to contribute to the Street View feature in Google Maps using just their smartphone camera.
“With our updated Street View app on Android, it’s now easier than ever to collect your own Street View imagery and put it in the right place on Google Maps,” Google’s Stafford Marquardt explains. “Using our new connected photos tool in the app, you can record a series of connected images as you move down a street or path.”
To date, all Street View imagery has been captured by special Street View cars and other vehicles outfitted with camera arrays, part of Google’s multi-year effort to make the world around us more accessible. And it allowed users with 360-degree cameras to capture Street View imagery in limited ways.
But with the updated Street View app, anyone can contribute using just their smartphones. Google says that the app uses ARCore, the same augmented reality technology it uses for Live View and other AR experiences, to capture imagery, and that it will automatically rotate, position, and connect photos from multiple users and place them right in Google Maps.
Google says that its Street View vehicles have captured 170 billion images across 10 million miles around the planet to date. But since there are still many unmapped places in the world, this new expansion should improve matters dramatically.