Google has added another great time stealing feature to its maps. Street View has 360 degree street level photos of the area you’re looking at on the map, caught from a van with a turret of cameras on the roof. It’s a feature that has attracted some controversy and questions about invasion of privacy, but it’s also incredibly cool. The compositing of the photos gives cars and people, particularly when close to the camera, a ghostly, slightly transparent look.
There aren’t many cities mapped with Street Views yet. I took a wander around San Francisco and New York, trying to find views that were familiar from films and skating games. But then I went into satellite view and got distracted by these(if you want an even closer look find the “z=19” value in the URL and change it to “z=20”). Just offshore by Battery Park are two ghostly outlines of boats. Are they really there or are they the product of the way the satellite images have been processed? If you go South along the shoreline you can see another ghostly structure on the seam between one set of photos and another, but the ships don’t look like that.
Any Manhattanites want to tell me whether these boats are real, or go and check the area out for me. I may do it myself in September, if I remember, but I’m curious and impatient and I want an answer now.