31 December 2007

Street-level views of 23 US cities

Thanks to Pamela Weisberger of the JGS of Los Angeles, here's a pointer to Google Maps "Street View" feature.

"Would you like to see a current photograph of your great-grandparents' apartment building (or the block where it once stood) on Manhattan's lower east side or virtually explore, at street level, the neighborhoods where they lived in Boston,
Chicago, Miami...or more...from your home computer?"

Street View provides photographs of the locations you view on their maps if the feature has been activated for specific places.

I searched for my childhood home in Brooklyn, on E. 52 Street and Avenue D, but the anticipated "blue line streets" (see below), which indicate activated Street View images, were not there. The closest I could get was Kings Highway and Avenue D, a few blocks away.

When trying for my sister's home on the Upper West Side, I had a nice view of the four corners of 98th and Broadway, but not the exact building.

Currently, 23 US cities are available (New York, Denver, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Tucson, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Fort Worth, Boston, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Providence); more are added daily, and London UK will be coming online. Again, not all streets in all cities have this feature activated.

Go to Google Maps (maps.google.com), enter the address and hit the "Street View" button. (The option for street level view appears at the top right of the map where available.) Blue outlines show roads where street view is available. Click on the camera icon to bring up the image and click on full view to enlarge the photo. You can also pan up, zoom in and rotate 360 degrees. Although you can't save the photograph to your computer, you can take a digital picture from the computer screen.

For a helpful tutorial on the feature, click here

Weisberger also points to other street-level map-viewing websites, such as Everyscape.com.

There are also sites focusing on European cities, such as Barcelona, Spain. When our daughter lived there a few years ago, we found an excellent site that showed nearly every building in the city. We were able to see not only where she lived, but views from different angles and learn more about the neighborhood.

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