Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hacking Historic Street View

Yesterday Google Maps began to roll-out to users the option to view historic Street View images. These are the Street View images which have been updated by more recent imagery.

My first thought on hearing the announcement was 'I wonder how easy that will be to hack'. Well a couple of hours ago the historic Street View option appeared on my version of Google Maps and it turns out to be very easy to hack.

All you need to do to get the historic Street View imagery is take the panoID and pass into a Street View element. I've created a quick demo which automatically rotates through seven of the occasions when Google has driven past the Freedom Tower in New York. Using the Historic Street View demo you can view the construction of the Freedom Tower, as captured by Google Maps Street View over four years.

To give the user some control over the date of the Street View image shown I should probably have used a slide control rather than animate through the Street View images. However an animated slideshow was quicker to throw together.

Historic Street View imagery has not yet been added to the Google Maps API so it is probably not possible yet to access historic Street View images programatically. This means that for now if you want to hack the imagery you will need to grab the panoID of each separate Street View image, as I did for this demo.
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