Virtual Tourism

Virtual tourism, google maps mashup, google video

Hacking Google Maps Street View

Google Map's recent 'street view' development has led to a new trend of 'street view' spotting. A number of sites have sprung up to track the interesting and sometimes weird images that Google have captured.

Virtual Tourism has gone a step further and hacked the actual 'street view' images and produced a fully interactive 'street view' Google Gadget. The gadget shows a different image from street view every day and can be added to your iGoogle page by clicking on the +Google button.

If you are interested in looking at some of the interesting finds that have been made in street view you can scroll down the page where we provide a map in which we have embedded a number of street views. Alternatively you can visit one of the handful of sites that have sprung up to collect these finds.

Streetviewr and Street View Fun being just two.

The more technically minded amongst you however will be more interested in how we managed to hack street view. Brainoff have an interesting article on how they went about hacking Google's latest map feature. The approach they seem to have taken is to extract the 'panoId' from Streetview.

I took a completely different approach, probably because of my experience in building this blog. The maps on Virtual Tourism have YouTube and Google Videos embedded within them. This is an easy process, not much different from embedding a YouTube movie in any web page. By embedding a YouTube movie you are essentially just loading the address of a Flash movie that then plays from YouTube's server.

Now Google Map's 'street views' are just interactive Flash movies, so you can embed the movies in your own web page, Google Maps etc. in exactly the same way.

To do this all you need is the address of the Flash movie. Where you get that from is another story ... to be continued.