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Google to scan and chart Indian streets; commences survey mapping of IT city Bangalore

posted 1 Jun 2011, 08:20 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 1 Jun 2011, 08:27 ]

Getting to a popular eatery dishing out dosais (Indian pancakes) or shop at an upmarket stores in India's southern city of Bangalore, would soon be just be a click away as 360 degree panoramic mapping project for Google's Street View is launched in India.

BANGALORE, KARNATAKA, INDIA (JUNE 01, 2011) ANI - In the very near future, spotting or reaching a popular eatery dishing out dosais (south Indian pancakes) or shop at an upmarket stores for trendy wear and assorted items in the southern city of Bangalore, would be just be a click away, thanks to a user-friendly computerised street map.

Yes, this is a part of the 360-degree panoramic mapping project for Google's Street View that was

launched in India recently.

This Street View has been a novel initiative that took off along the thoroughfares and other arterial roads in the garden and IT city India on Thursday (May 27).

Thus a common sight over the past couple of days has been the cars of Google moving across the city collecting 360-degree imagery of streets of prime neighbourhoods in Bangalore.

As for mapping the narrow lanes and by-lanes that are aplenty in old localities of the city like the numerous 'Pets' - Balepet, Cottonpet, Chikpet, Tharugpet, Akkipet, etc. and the erstwhile Civil Areas of Cantonment, specially designed tricycles called 'Trikes' with mounted 360-degree panoramic view cameras have been commissioned.

Briefing the mediapersons about this street mapping, Google India Chief Vinay Goel said the feature allows its browsers to believe that they are virtually present on the specific street they are looking for.

In particular, this service is immensely beneficial for all, be they the common citizens, tourists or users with specific purpose like marketing professionals and others hunting for exclusive products and services.

"The street view essentially allows users to virtually be on a street. So we are collecting street level imagery, which gives users 360 degree panoramic view and basically makes them believe that they are actually on the street and they can turn around and see things as if they are on the street," said Vinay Goel.

'Street View', a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth, allows users to navigate around a 360-degree view of city streets using pictures taken by Google's vehicles equipped with cameras.

This service is already in operation in more than 25 countries, Goel noted.

Google has sent fleets of cars around the world for several years to take panoramic pictures of streets.

People using Google's online atlas for locations and directions in many cases can look at photographs collected by the Street View project and classified by address.

Google uses a combination of data from Wi-Fi, GPS and cell phone towers to determine where smartphone users are so they can be given information based on a specific location.

Launched in 2007 in United States, the service of Street View has come under the radar several times with government complaining on matters and locations of security concern.

On this score, Goel said the mapping project is designed according to the local laws and it is being carried out under the watchful eye of the security authorities.

In this context, Bangalore is of prime importance vis-à-vis highly sensitive defence installations and top echelon formations in research and development (R&D) and production, right from a tiny pin to an aeroplane.

"So what we are doing, and this is important to realise about street view is that we are only driving on public roads and taking publicly available imagery. So what we are not doing is going into specific installations and taking private pictures. So that's what we will bring out and obviously we are working with the local authorities, so if there are certain sensitive locations that rather we don't film and things like that, then we are happy to work with them," added Vinay Goel.

Recently, France's data protection regulator fined Google 100,000 euros ($142,000) for collecting private data from wireless networks when its camera-equipped cars gathered footage for its on-line map service Street View.

In 2010, Google disclosed that its Street View cars around the world had collected private data, such as emails and Internet surfing records, from unsecured wireless networks.

That led to the regulatory authorities in a number of countries, including France, the United States, Switzerland, the UK and Singapore to look into Street View.

The Street View mapping project is expected to go on in India for the next couple of months.