The Streets of Belfast have gone global with Google Street View. From Larne to Lisburn and just about all the streets in-between, we’re all just a click away from roaming the fair-weather streets of Belfast and the surrounding area from the warming comfort of the t’internet.
As reported widely in the press and on other blogger's pages over the past day, 25 cities in the U.K finally got their unveiling to the t’interweb. According to the Timesonline
we’ve been held back in seeing Belfast and other UK cities on google due to the inclement weather. From memory, we hardly got two consecutive dry days to be able to cut the grass last year. No doubt they had great fun trying to find days to drive around and capture the images of some dry Northern Irish streets.
Judging from building works and things I recognise, these first 360 degree snapshots look to have been conceived by camera around 9 months ago. So the images were probably taken around the end of June to the end of July. Making for a pretty regular summertime view of Union Jacks and vertical tricolours on many streets. A lot of the photos also seem to have been captured on a morning or a Sunday. This was probably to cut down on the amount of faces and registration plates to blur out, which is fair enough, but it does seem to make the streets look slightly abandoned.
I’m sure all of us who live and/or work on a street covered have already checked out home and work or have tried to spot yourself or things belonging to people you know. Dave Gorman, in his blog didn’t take long to pin down when he saw the Google van roll past him in London.
The next question, after the initial hype, is what use is it going to be? Well as I mentioned just last week in my blog about our recent trip to Paris, it’s pretty handy if you’ve never been somewhere before, to get a grip of your bearings. Prior to even leaving the house to go to the airport we knew what shops were on the road of the hotel and what the hotel looked like. So now anyone coming to visit Belfast can visit their hotel before they get here, which on the plus side means we probably won’t get stopped and asked for directions as often by eccentric tourists but on the downside we won’t get stopped and asked for directions as often by eccentric tourists.
For us folks already living here I can see it being great for looking up a place before going for a job interview or as we did today, checking out the shop frontage of a take away to make a judgement call on the likelihood of food poisoning. A look before you leap tactic might come in handy for many other things though its always worth considering that it’s bound to be a lot wetter when you’re really there and the pictures could be up to a year out of date. In Belfast that means the changing skyline is already making the images released into the public domain today dated. Like Google Earth’s over head images they’ll no doubt re-new them every so often.
Possibly by the end of the year Belfast should be joined by some other areas on this island. Word is that the Google cameras will soon be taking to the streets of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. So if you know anyone living in those areas that might want to tidy up their garden? Do let them know they’ve not got long.
Right, time for a virtual wander to find some streets I didn’t realise existed, Woohoo!