The Google 'Street View' technology, used in 'Google Maps' and 'Google Earth' and providing panoramic views from various positions along streets and roads around The World, was launched on May 25, 2007 and on, March 11, 2010, over 99% of the United Kingdom's roads, covering a total of approximately 238,000 miles, both rural and urban, were added. The peculiar advantage of the new technology is that one can now see, at least from a nearby roadway, the whole area around many of old and long-gone piers and docks, a useful reference for identifying locations of ships in old postcards, albeit one should probably be looking across to their locations from other vantage points - Too, if lucky, one may discover a few photographs of ships and ferries, in service or laid-up, in some locations. Google 'Street View' technology is indeed something of a 'double-edged sword' and, for many different reasons, though it will delight some, it will also appall others, some of whom will argue that it breaches their 'privacy rights' ! 'Street View' provides a unique view of 'the way we were' round about 2007 - 2009 and gives us an extra-ordinarily comprehensive look at places we live, places we grew up in, places that our family and friends live in, places that we like to visit and places that, having seen them, we will never visit ! But beware ! Users of dial-up internet connections will find that the pictures may be slow to load and slow to respond. The images have been taken from a fleet of specially adapted cars, each car fitted with nine directional cameras, for 360° views, positioned at a height of about 2.5 metres above the road, the cars fitted with GPS units for positioning and three 180° 'panoramic' laser range scanners for the measuring of up to 50 metres in the front of the cars and the patented 11 1

lens camera system simultaneously takes photos in 11 directions based on a dodecahedron geometry Where available, for not everywhere is covered, the street view images can be accessed after zooming in to the higher zooming level in Google maps and satellite images, a little yellow "pegman" icon, on the left hand side of the map, dragged, by holding down the left mouse button, towards the desired location on the map. As one drags the "pegman", the Google-filmed roads light up in blue and one simply drags the "pegman" on to the desired location, so that the little green 'cloud' below the "pegman" sits on the coloured roadway. Then, using the computer mouse and the screen controls at the left of the picture, one can change the horizontal and vertical viewing direction through a full 360°, change the view upwards or downwards and zoom inwards or outwards. A straight or broken line in the photo shows the approximate path followed by the camera car and arrows link to the next photo in each direction, more arrows are shown at junctions and crossings of camera car routes. With a little patience and practice, one will discover that, by placing the mouse cursor in the roadway and, generally, about half-way up the picture, a little, from big-to-narrow, eliptical 'circle' will appear and, by 'double-clicking' on that, one can proceed along the road - If one goes too far along, one simply turns the view round 180° and goes back to an earlier point ! One can also zoom in to areas of the picture by means of a 'shadowy' rectangular screen which overlays the area around the cursor, or by 'right-clicking' the computer mouse. Too, by going to the right of the picture, one can enlarge the pictures to 'full screen' size or exit the 'Street View' and return to the originally selected Google Map. Further options, some using 'beta-version' trial tools, can be found by clicking on 'New', at the top right of the Google Map page. More about the history etc. of Google's 'Street View' can be found at and a World Map of Google's 'Street View' filming, which, for those with family and friends in America (though Canada is presently somewhat patchy in coverage), Australia and New Zealand, Hong Kong and Japan and much of Western Europe can be found at and there is a 'Help' page for Google's 'Street View' at To capture pictures, the Screen Hunter 5.1 Free at and, to crop the results, the free Irfanview program (plus all its necessary add-ons) at will be found 'ever useful'.


Google Street View's picture of CalMac's "Bute" arriving at Wemyss Bay


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