Monday, February 04, 2013

Street View Video Driving Directions


One of the problems with biking directions in Google Maps is that you are never entirely sure how safe the biking route is before setting off. For example, whenever I use biking directions around my home Google Maps usually suggests roads I would never consider cycling on and ignores far safer and quieter roads.

Cyclodeo helps solve this problem by letting you view a video of a suggested cycling route before you undertake your journey. The application uses Google Maps and videos of a cycling route to allow the user to view the route before setting out. The videos are synced to the Google Map of the route so the user can click anywhere on the route and view the video at that location.

Currently Cyclodeo has video coverage in the Netherlands and a few examples in New York.

Video driving directions is one of those areas that one of the major players are going to crack sooner or later. I think Google and Bing both have submitted patent applications for mapped driving directions that allow users to view routes on a map with video previews of the journey.

If you can't wait for Google and Microsoft to finish their research into video driving directions then you can check out VidTeq who already have video driving directions in place in Bangalore.


VidTeq perhaps is the best example of how video driving directions will work. Using VidTeq it is possible to enter a start address and destination and then preview a suggested route on a map and a view a video of the journey.

As the video of the route plays arrows are superimposed on top of the video player to indicate when turns are required. Beneath the video the step-by-step directions scroll upwards to reflect the position displayed in the video.

Both Vidteq and Cyclodeo use conventional video. I suspect that Google and Bing will be exploring the use of 360 degree interactive videos in their video driving directions. Personally I'm just waiting for the release of Jeffrey Martin's Sphericam. Once this affordable 360 degree video camera is on the market I'm sure we are going to see an explosion of maps featuring immersive Street View video.
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