To the surprise of Sunday spectators at the Steveston Farmers Market, a large three-wheeled bike carefully wove its way right through the busy crowds. Turns out that the trike was from Google and the employee was in Steveston to add 360 degree panoramic imagery to Google Maps, apparently as part of their biking and hiking trails initiative for Street View. With an aim to capture the “off-the-beaten-track and hard-to-reach places”, these bikes have been spotted as far away as Italy, Britain, Denmark, and Japan, but as of this week have been popping up in Detroit, Toronto, and Hawaii, and as close as Seattle and Bellevue.
After completing a loop around Garry Point, the biker seemed slightly nervous but carried on courageously through the large crowds. She had to turn around at the gate where the trail to the north of the Cannery forces bikers to dismount, which is quite the feat considering Google’s stats that each trike weighs about 250 pounds. Amidst making laps around the market, communicating on her walkie-talkie, and checking her dash-mounted computer, she also had to deal with gawkers, fame-seekers, and photo hounds!
According to Google, the imagery typically takes two months before it goes live, during which time it gets map matched, stitched together, and then blurred to remove any identifiable faces or license plates. As always, any privacy concerns can be reported to Google who can work to digitally remove them. To get a sense of what we can expect when one of Steveston’s best features becomes globally accessible, see what Google’s done with the trails and paths in Monterey, the walkway on the Santa Monica Pier, the waterways of Osaka, and even the magical park of Disneyland Paris.
What do you think about Steveston’s big closeup?