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Using Star Trek’s transporter to beam to distant planets is still a pipe dream, and letting our senses travel virtually is the closest we have come so far. Thank Google Street View for that. All you need is a comfortable bandwidth and a cozy couch and you can go on some fantastic virtual tours around the world.
Google Maps Street View Player by Brian Folts builds on that and gives you a useful tool for a cross-country trip or a walk through your town.
It takes you from Point A on the map to Point B with the help of an auto-guided tour that plays out in your browser (and an Android app). Just feed it the starting location for your journey and the destination. The player shows a playthrough of all Street View images that are available for the route.
The Advanced Options give you a few more settings to play around with. Pick up a travel mode from the dropdown. Feed it a GPX (a common GPS data format) file for more precise routes.
As you can see from the screenshot above, you can set a frame rate. This is useful if you are on a lower bandwidth or you just want to observe the images a little more carefully. For instance, play it slower and spot important landmarks to help improve your navigation. This could be handy if you plan to make the journey at night.
The Google Maps Streetview Player is a humble effort from the developer and it is not perfect. The idea is elegant and you wish Google offered it as a standard feature on Street View alongside the turn by turn route playback which they already do. There could be so many everyday uses.
Do you agree? What are some of the imaginative uses that you can think of?