March 26, 2009
At street level
Google’s Street View was launched in the UK last month, with 360 degree views of 25 cities now available as part of its mapping service. I have already found it handy, after time spent drawing, for recalling architectural details once I’m back in the studio. Images taken with a digital camera would do the job better and be more up to date than the Street View images, which were taken last summer (you can tell by the overcast conditions), but this online option could be a useful alternative.
It’s not, of course, something to rely upon too heavily. Street View rarely offers quite the view you worked on, unless you draw on central reservations or from the roofs of cars. As if to prove the point, the view above, drawn from a cafe in Lower Regent Street, is, like the views outside Downing Street and Buckingham Palace, unavailable on Street View. It's as if some parts of town just don't exist.
Meanwhile, I’m anxiously awaiting the time when Google gets around to introducing Cafe View, showing panoramic views from the windows of beverage emporiums around the globe. Now that would be really useful.