This morning marked the launch of Google Street View in South Africa. Allowing you to sit at your computer and stalk people in their houses. Well not really, the majority of the images are a few months old but the quality of the images is absolutely staggering. Over the past few months Google has been driving around the country in their Google Map Street View vans and trikes – for those harder to reach places – collecting panoramic images of South Africa.
The vast majority of the images are perfect, no distortion or pixilation. Although not everything is peachy though, Google uses a complex set of algorithms to “stitch” the images together to create a panoramic view and as you can see here…
…this gardener is clearly watering a half invisible man’s head.
Nonetheless this is a very cool addition to Google Maps in South Africa. It is another byproduct of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, Google, along with Bing and Yahoo have all stepped up their mapping efforts in South Africa ahead of the event. South Africa expects around 350 000 foreigners to attend the event, the majority from the US.
I would seriously recommend checking out the Soccer World Cup stadiums, especially if you live in South Africa. In fact, if you live in South Africa, due to the FIFA World Cup ticketing fiasco, this might be the only way you will see the inside of the stadiums! Seven of South Africa’s new football stadiums, including Soccer City in Johannesburg, Peter Mokaba in Polokwane and Moses Mabhida in Durban are now available to explore from pitch-level in 360 degrees, both inside and out. All 10 of the World Cup stadiums have also been modelled in 3D, allowing you to fly in and out of the stadiums admiring them from every angle.
Street View images are also available of around 27 South African towns and cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth, helping tourists get to know the local area or navigate their way to their hotel. Of course the top tourist attractions can now be explored in detail. The Cape, Soweto (the pretty parts at least) and even the Kruger National Park!
Finally, if you just want to find a great place to watch the match with your mates check out http://maps.google.com/worldcup and look for the football icons – that tells you the location is one of tens of thousands of businesses who have added themselves to Google Places as a soccer viewing location.
These are my favorite Street View images so far…
Leave any other awesome places you find in the comment section bellow!