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Google’s Street View is Coming to Kingston

Google Street View, Kingston OntarioIn late July, one of our followers on Twitter broadcast a message regarding the Google Maps vehicle, which was seen driving around the Limestone City.  After we caught wind of the story, we were able to confirm that a few other Kingstonians had also sighted the Google-mobile, which is equipped with an unmistakable roof-mounted camera.  Presently, Google’s highly popular Street View is only available on certain streets in select cities throughout United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy and Japan.  Hence I was rather skeptical that Kingston would receive a visit from Google before street-level imagery was made available in Canada’s largest cities, specifically Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.  After a bit of sleuthing, I was able to verify that Google has been rolling out a massive Street View initiative for all of Canada, with stops in large and modest metropolises including Kingston, Thunder Bay and Saint John.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Google Street View, allow me to press the rewind button.  Matt Williams, Street View Operations Program Manager, describes this feature of Google Maps as follows:

Street View was launched in May 2007 to allow our users to explore the world through images.  At the time, coverage was limited to just five U.S. cities.

The feature provides users 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic street level views within Google Maps.  Google collects these images using special cameras and equipment that capture and match images to a specific location using GPS devices. Once the images are captured, they are “sewn” together to create a 360° panorama. Faces and license plates are blurred before the panorama images are served and become viewable in Google Maps.

Why should you care that this feature  is being added to Google’s map of Kingston, Ontario?  Street View is a dynamic tool that can be used to facilitate education, business and tourism.  For instance, I’ve never been to the Coloseum in Rome or Time’s Square in New York City, however I’ve driven through them both with Google Street View.  Hence prospective visitors to Kingston will be able to use Street View to plan their vacation as well as to scout out parking and accessibility on a given street.  Classrooms from any continent will be able to explore the former home of Sir John A. MacDonald or simply cruise past Kingston City Hall and a Martello Tower.  Furthermore, there are numerous commercial applications ranging from enhanced real estate listings to improved marketing via Google Maps.

Unfortunately, there’s no definitive date as to when Street View will be made available on Google’s map of Kingston.  In addition, we don’t even know where street-level imagery will be made available.  Regardless, we’ll be sure to spread the word as soon as we hear anything further.

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Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

13 thoughts on “Google’s Street View is Coming to Kingston

  • August 5, 2009 at 4:51 pm
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    I saw the Google Maps vehicle drive by our office (Lappans Lane) yesterday afternoon. It was like seeing the easterbunny or something, we all ran to the window to catch a glimpse.

  • August 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm
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    I’m assuming you spotted them on John Counter Bvld. Interesting if they’re including streets like that in Kingston’s Street View profile. Perhaps they were simply driving to another location to capture imagery there?

  • August 5, 2009 at 8:57 pm
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    As far as I know, Google indexes every public street, lane and alley (unless requested not to) – So things like Remorquage Dr, North Park Dr, and Yeoman Ct, Tower St and Prim Rose Ln SHOULD all make the map – as would Lappan’s.

    Five points if you can id the 5 streets above without cheating, too. :P

  • August 5, 2009 at 11:27 pm
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    (Re-posted from my flickr comment): I’m pretty sure I saw the street view car come through Queen’s Main Campus a little over a week ago (It didn’t have “Google” plastered all over it, but it did have a 360-degree camera system mounted on the roof). I waved and smiled (even though they’ll be obscuring my face anyway).

    Coverage about Google Street View in other Canadian Cities seemed to imply it would be about 4 months before the service would be active.

    Now if only Google would get onto adding Kingston Transit information to their maps (they’ve already been given all the data by the city).

  • August 6, 2009 at 7:39 am
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    Don’t forget that Streetview is available in other parts of Europe (Germany, and France). This is definitely a pretty big deal for Kingston, even if it’s showing off our poorly maintained streets. Perhaps Google might also get around to enabling that last level of zoom on their satellite view of Kingston. I desperately want to see my house from outer space.

  • August 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm
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    I saw the Google Earth car in Portsmouth this week. Perhaps I’ll catch a glimpse of my car near Timmy’s on Street View.

    I have also heard they include every street in their program, and am assuming Kingston is no different. I wanted to follow the car so I could hop out and get myself in a picture, but was stopped at a red light and lost the car as it turned into the suburbs around SLC.

  • August 18, 2009 at 9:12 am
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    @Phil Healey No offense to whomever maintains that map you’ve linked to, but Google’s version has it beat 10 times over. With the addition of Street View, there will be even less reason for the City to try to keep this sort of tool up to date.

  • June 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm
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    Google Maps now includes Kingston Transit trip planning information.

    Go to maps.google.ca, enter your origin/destination, click on the public transit icon, and you will be provided with step-by-step instructions to reach your destination using Kingston Transit.

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