New ways to explore with the Street View trike

October 16, 2009

Users can nominate their favorite places to be photographed for Street View on Google Maps

With Street View in Google Maps, you can take a virtual drive over the Golden Gate Bridge or see the bustle of Times Square from the comfort of your own home, but some of the country’s most interesting and fun places aren’t accessible by car. What if you want to tour the campuses of prospective universities, find a scenic running trail, or pick the best theme park for a family trip? To gather imagery of locations like these, we have a unique new tool: the Street View trike. This mechanical masterpiece consists of 3 bicycle wheels, a mounted Street View camera, and a specially decorated unit with imaging & GPS technology. We have a team of very athletic cyclists who ride this 250-pound gadget around – and now we need the public’s help to tell us where to take the trike next.

Today we’re announcing the opportunity for users to directly give us their suggestions for the off-the-beaten-path & pedestrian-only locations they’d like to see featured in Street View on Google Maps. We often get requests from our users to photograph all sorts of new locations for Street View, and now we want to hear everyone’s best ideas of where to send the trike next. Locations can be nominated within six categories:

  • Parks & Trails
  • University Campuses
  • Theme Parks & Zoos
  • Pedestrian Malls (ie: outdoor shopping areas, boardwalks)
  • Landmarks
  • Sports Venues (ie: golf courses, racing tracks, stadium grounds)

Nominations will be open until October 28 and can be submitted at We’ll then comb through all of the suggestions and allow the public to cast their final votes on a winner from each category for the Street View trike to visit. For any privately-owned or operated location, like a campus or theme park, we’ll work directly with the relevant organization prior to collecting the imagery.

The Street View trike began as a 20% project by Daniel Ratner, a Senior Mechanical Engineer on the Street View team. "I began thinking about building a bicycle-based Street View system after realizing how many interesting places around the world – ranging from historic landmarks to beautiful trails to shopping districts – aren’t accessible by car," says Dan. "When I’m riding the trike, so many people come up to me and ask where it’s off to next or how they can get imagery of their favorite spot, so I can’t wait to see what our users come up with."

Google Maps currently features Street View imagery taken from the trike in several locations in California, many gathered by Dan himself: LEGOLAND California, Arastradero Open Preserve, San Diego State University, Monterey coastal bike path, and Santa Monica Pier. We have let users nominate their favorite places for the Street View trike to visit in a handful of other countries; in the United Kingdom, we received around 10,000 submissions and more than 35,000 votes. We look forward to seeing what suggestions our users have for new locations all around the United States.

Note: Please contact for photographs, b-roll video, partner quotes, and further materials.