SAN FRANCISCO -- By now Street View is a routine part of online mapping. But people might not be so familiar with how Google actually gets the data for its 360-degree panoramic views of the world.
Street View imagery launched in 2007 with photos taken by cameras perched on cars. That's still the mainstay of the project, but there's much more to it now, and Google was showing off its methods at its Google I/O 2013 developer show here this week.
Exhibits included not just a car, but also a snowmobile, tricycle, backpack, trolley, and self-propelled underwater camera system. The underwater and backpack systems are controlled by Android devices.
For a look at all the gear, check CNET's Street View equipment gallery.
Although Street View can be convenient for Google Maps users trying to get around unfamiliar territory, it's also important to Google itself. Google uses Street View imagery in its Ground Truth project to correct its own map and navigation inaccuracies.