Street View on Google Maps comes to Canada
October 7, 2009
English | French
In time for the 2010 Winter Games, street-level imagery helps Canadians and the world explore Canada
Vancouver, October 7, 2009—Today Google has expanded its popular Street View on Google Maps service to include imagery from eleven cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Whistler. With the 2010 Winter Games coming in February, Street View on Google Maps will enable people within Canada and worldwide to explore the host city and Olympic venues, from B.C. Place Stadium to Whistler Village, and other regions and landmarks across Canada.
Using Street View on Google Maps, a free feature, people can virtually explore and navigate neighbourhoods through panoramic street-level images. The tool first launched in May 2007 and is hugely popular worldwide; in 2009 alone, Canadians have viewed more than 150 million Street View images of other countries. Imagery is now available for 13 countries in addition to Canada: Australia, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and the U.S. It is also available on Google Maps for Mobile.
The Canadian cities and regions currently explorable via Street View on Google Maps are: Vancouver, Whistler, Squamish, Banff, Calgary, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax. Additional cities and regions throughout the country will be added soon.
Jonathan Lister, Head of Google Canada, said, "We’re thrilled that Street View on Google Maps is now available for Canada in time for the 2010 Winter Games. Street View has been hugely popular with our users worldwide, and now Canadians and others can see the streets and landmarks of Vancouver, Whistler, and other cities, and innovate in exciting ways. Governments, businesses, and individuals across Canada use Google Maps and Google Earth every day as essential and informative tools: Street View now adds a new dimension."
Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver, added, "We’re very excited to be working together with Google to let people from around the world see first hand what an amazing city Vancouver is to visit, work and invest in. And like Google, we’re also committed to using open technology standards to increase knowledge, accessibility and innovation in Vancouver. We’re thrilled that the world can now look at our city online in Street View on Google Maps."
To view the Street View imagery, simply zoom into the lowest level on Google Maps (maps.google.ca) or drag the orange "Pegman" icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue-lined street. In addition to individuals, Canadian businesses can benefit from Street View by embedding Google Maps directly into their website for free, to help them promote their sites or raise awareness of a local landmark.
Google has gone to great lengths to ensure Canadians’ privacy while enabling them to benefit from Street View on Google Maps. The feature only contains imagery that is already visible from public roads and blurs identifiable faces and licence plates. In addition, users can easily flag for removal images that they consider sensitive or inappropriate by clicking on the "Report a problem" link at the bottom of any image. Google has consulted with Canada’s federal and provincial Privacy Commissioners in developing Street View and its privacy safeguards.
More details and resources, including an image gallery and videos, are available on our bilingual website (google.ca/streetview).
Businesses and organizations in Canada have already identified opportunities for Street View on Google Maps to be used in real estate, tourism, travel, and heritage. Here’s what some of them are saying:
Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver, Host City for the 2010 Winter Games
"We’re very excited to be working together with Google to let people from around the world see first hand what an amazing city Vancouver is to visit, work and invest in. And like Google, we’re also committed to using open technology standards to increase knowledge, accessibility and innovation in Vancouver. We’re thrilled that the world can now look at our city online in Street View on Google Maps."
Rod Harris, President & CEO, Tourism British Columbia
"At Tourism British Columbia, we strongly believe that a travel experience begins at home – as people go through the process of fantasizing about where they want to go, and what they want to experience. Street View on Google Maps provides an incredibly authentic sampling of what visitors can see and do in a destination such as British Columbia. As travellers go through the decision-making cycle of starting with a curiosity about a new place or experience, to seeing it come to life through Street View, to ultimately deciding an activity is something they must do, Google has provided a potent new tool to stimulate imaginations and convert tourism dreamers into doers."
Charles Lapointe, CEO, Tourism Montréal
"Tourisme Montréal is very excited to be working with Google on the launch of Street View in Canada. Always on the forefront of technological innovation opportunities, Tourism Montréal adds this partnership to its Web strategy and will hopefully become one of the first destination management organizations in the world to incorporate Google’s Street View images directly into its Web site. We realize that the technology proposed by Google will help potential visitors to Montréal to get a better feel of the destination before visiting, to navigate easily during their stay and to share their experiences with friends and relatives after their vacation. All great news for the Montréal tourism industry!"
Peggy Mooney, Executive Director, Heritage Toronto
"Heritage Toronto is committed to new initiatives that promote our city’s history. Very few people are aware of the diversity of Toronto’s heritage, which is why Street View on Google Maps is a welcome addition to Canada. Through the click of a mouse, people can view their neighbourhoods in a new light – the buildings, sites and the stories on every street corner that have shaped our city. Street View on Google Maps makes Toronto’s history more accessible to everyone."
Karen Henrich, Founder/CEO, ChicWalks.com
"Street View on Google Maps provides a virtual street-level view of our step-by-step shopping walks, adding significant wow factor to our site. By incorporating this technology, shoppers can walk the route before they go, instantly transporting them onto the streets and providing a virtual window shopping look at the stores they plan to visit. This allows us to add a fun, engaging and interactive experience that keeps people coming back for more. We look forward to incorporating Street View on Google Maps as we document shopping walks in all of the fashion capitals of the world."
Facts & Figures:
- Our drivers told us the biggest challenge to driving in Canada was the weather … it rains a lot in Vancouver!
- Our drivers said the most fun part of mapping Canada was trying to guess how many Tim Horton’s a driver would pass each day.
- The optimum weather conditions for capturing Street View imagery are dry and slightly overcast skies; rain, snow, fog and hail are the worst.
- Street View on Google Maps uses state-of-the-art face detection technology to blur faces – technology which was added for new imagery in Manhattan in May 2008. This technology is new and sometimes we get some false positives: in some cases you can find we’ve blurred the face of a horse or even a statue!
- Geography, population density, weather, and traffic are just some of the logistical issues that can affect the time it takes to cover a selected area, so it can take several months to cover an area.
- The Street View mascot is called Pegman. He’s called Pegman because he looks like a clothes peg. He sometimes gets dressed up for holidays and other special occasions. In the past he’s been a snowman, a hippie, a witch, Uncle Sam, and riding a bike in the Tour de France.
- Street View on Google Maps has been used for some imaginative purposes, including one Google employee who proposed to his girlfriend via Street View. Police in Massachusetts used Street View to find the location of a kidnapped child.
Street View in numbers:
- 5 Number of U.S. cities available with the first ever launch of Street View on Google Maps (San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Miami, and Denver).
- 14 Number of countries where Street View is currently available (Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States).
- 12 Average number of panoramas someone looks at each time they use Street View.
- 15 Number of times a day that Street View drivers have to climb on top of the roof to clean lenses, cover up when raining, and check equipment – some use small step ladders to make it easier.
- 11 – Number of Canadian cities and regions now explorable in Street View: Banff, Calgary, Halifax, Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Squamish, Toronto, Vancouver and Whistler.
- 49,400 Number of kilometres of road covered for the Street View launch in Canada.
- 10,000 Number of corrections or additions our users make to Google Maps each hour.
- One million Hours that Google Maps and Google Earth users spend browsing geographic content every day.
- Tens of millions Number of images that have been captured for Street View on Google Maps so far.
- More than 150 million Number of Street View images that Canadians have viewed of other countries in 2009 alone.
About our partners:
City of Vancouver
The world comes to Vancouver for entrepreneurial innovation, energetic diversity and the inspirations of our natural paradise. Vancouver invites you to experience it all during the excitement of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Explore the possibilities at vancouver.ca.
Contact for Mayor Robertson: Kevin Quinlan 778.995.2264 email@example.com
Contact for City of Vancouver: Corporate Communications 604.871.6336
Tourism British Columbia
Visit HelloBC.com, the official travel planning site of Tourism British Columbia, and find information on Vancouver accommodations and attractions. Feel the excitement as British Columbia, home of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games prepares to welcome the world.
Contact: William Bakker 604.775.0116 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tourisme Montréal is responsible for providing leadership in the concerted efforts of hospitality and promotion in order to position the destination on leisure and business travel markets. It is also responsible for developing Montréal’s tourism product in accordance with the ever-changing conditions of the market.
Contact: Pierre Bellerose 514.844.2404 email@example.com
Heritage Toronto is a charitable organization that works with the citizens of Toronto to advocate for, preserve, and promote a greater appreciation for our city’s rich heritage. Through partnerships with local community groups and volunteers, Heritage Toronto works to heighten awareness of our shared history by providing city-wide programs and services. Programs include free neighbourhood walking tours, the annual Heritage Toronto Awards and William Kilbourn Memorial Lecture, a heritage plaques and markers program and participation in Doors Open Toronto.
Contact: Rebecca Carson 416.338.1339 firstname.lastname@example.org
ChicWalks.com is the answer for those wishing to hit the shopping ground running in a city, without having to piece together a strategic plan by spending hours searching a bunch of different sites or other resources that are frequently out-dated. Each ChicWalk also lists eating, sleeping and other notable attractions and diversions along the way. The walks are also great for locals wanting to check out what’s new or review different areas before heading out on shopping excursions. The copy is color-coded, engaging, cheeky and fun. The walks can be downloaded to a mobile, or printed out free of charge by users, in thanks to the businesses featured on the walks.
Contact: Karen Henrich 604.628.2311 email@example.com
Google Communications contact: