Friday, June 05, 2020

Street View's Secret Depth API

a screenshot from the now defunct Urban Jungle

One of the hidden secrets of Google Maps Street View imagery is that it contains hidden depth map data. That depth data has been used in the past by applications such as Urban Jungle (no longer working) to superimpose other objects on top of Street View images.

In the screenshot above you can see how Urban Jungle used Street View's hidden depth map data to superimpose foliage in front of buildings in Street View. Urban Jungle is no longer working but you can see Street View's Depth Map data working in Callum Prentice's new Street Cloud Simple.

the now defunct World Under Water

I suspect Street Cloud Simple is built upon the GSVPanoDepth Street View depth library. A library which is at the heart of some of the most impressive applications built with Google Maps Street View.

Callum's Street Cloud Simple allows you a glimpse into how Street View's depth mapping works. This depth map data can be used to create some really visually striking applications with Google Maps Street View. As well as the amazing Urban Jungle (now defunct) the equally amazing World Under Water (also now defunct) used this depth map data to allow people to view what their street would like after massive sea level rise.

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