7 ways Google captures Street View images

May 23, 2016 by ivan

Google Street View technology has become something we easily take for granted. Back in 2007 when the first Google car rolled out on the street with a huge camera on top, people got used to viewing images on the Maps.

Street View allows us to take a peek at practically every corner of our tiny planet. But in order to make that even possible, Google had to come up with more than just a car. When streets were covered with thousands and thousands of more or less beautiful images, there were areas of the planet left where the car simply couldn’t fit.

Google obviously knows no boundaries and that’s where other vehicles and gadgets were introduced. Today, the company uses cars, snowmobiles, trikes, trolleys and backpacks equipped with a high-tech camera.


Google Street View car is a vehicle which we all recognize from pictures and also on the streets of ours . From a weird looking car with a long camera on top, the vehicle became something people like to follow and take pictures of. If you see this white car with map stickers on it, you can’t just go by without waving or smiling – in the end, you might end up on the photo.



When people in Google realized that even 4×4 cars couldn’t get to all terrain, they started thinking out of the box. When it comes to ice and snow, is there a better solution than a snowmobile? Google camera had to be protected against cold weather and drivers had to be brave enough to drive a snowmobile on the wild slopes across the world. Snowboarders, skiers, and mountaineers can thank this dandy vehicle for being able to take a virtual walk on most of the popular ski resorts and other snow covered areas of the globe.


If you spend a minute or two in a street view, you will notice that there are locations where no vehicles are allowed. Still, you can stay on the spot and gaze around as fast as you can move your mouse or slide your finger over the screen (please don’t do that on non-touch screens). Some of those places are recorded by driving a trike (tricycle) which was introduced so that pedestrian zones can be captured without terrifying pedestrians with a car or snowmobile. For example, Stonehenge was recorded using a trike. It might remind you of an ice-cream truck but it still looks kind of cool, doesn’t it?

The Trekker

After streets and pedestrian zones which allowed a trike to spin its wheels on were all covered up, a new problem raised above Google employees’ heads – how to record locations which were so narrow that no vehicle could fit in? Well, if a man could fit in those places, the problem would be solved and thus, a backpack was born. While you might usually bring food or clothes in your backpack, The Trekker had to be somewhat different. A camera had to be mounted on the backpack and according to images of people wearing it, we guess that you had to be a power lifter to apply for this job in the first place. The first location this thing was brought to was Grand Canyon.



It is a known fact that Google employees are a bit geekier than regular folks. So, it isn’t weird that some of them really are into museums. Those guys decided that Google Street View had to record inside famous museums and a Trolley came into existence. Trolley is actually a small cart equipped with a camera. This cart allowed people to roll inside walls of, not only museums, but also other indoor locations like stadiums, stores, and even White House.


If you didn’t know till now, Earth is covered in water in all the different kinds. Unfortunately, Google cars couldn’t float (we hope no one did actually test that) and none of the aforementioned vehicles and equipment could actually go on the water. Luckily, long time ago men invented boats which can now mount a Google camera. All Street View (should this be called Water View?) images which you can find on water are taken from such floating vehicle.

Underwater apparatus

If you have tried zooming on an underwater location, you might have seen beautiful imagery below the surface. No, those weren’t recorded with a Google Car someone tried to drive over the water but actually, a new apparatus was invented. This modern piece of equipment was given in hands of skillful divers all over the world who shot gorgeous images of coral reefs and other underwater locations.