Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vancouver gets Google Street View

Today Google Street View has gone live in Canada. That means that for most Canadian cities, you can use Google Maps to zoom down to street level and experience a virtual "walk through" of the city. It's a fantastic way to get a feel for a city, especially if you've never been there before.

For example, here's Yaletown on what looks like a weekday in early May, maybe 10am-ish:

View Larger Map

Virtual walk throughs have, of course, been around for a while now, but Google has taken that medium and has incorporated it into the functionality of Google Maps. For a former geography/GIS student like myself, it's truly exciting!

Saying that, over ten years ago an acquaintance of mine created a virtual walk through of downtown Vancouver all on his own. He must have spent weeks doing this, but he effectively had a precursor to Google's Street View. It's still online at and I encourage you to check it out. I find it quite fascinating to go through and walk through Vancouver circa late 90's because so much has changed around the city since then, it's really like going back in time.

6 comments: said...

When I visited Vancouver I did not meet any 'locals' it was always someone from somewhere else... I figured people moved there for college and work and that there did not exist any primary/secondary schools [sarcasm]

Robyn said...

Ha! Yeah, it can certainly seem that way. It's funny how the social circles around Vancouver work. I've noticed that most locals typically socialize with other locals, if they haven't fled Vancouver for somewhere cheaper to live.

I grew up in the suburbs and surprisingly (to me), a lot of people I grew up with still live in the suburbs and tend to only socialize with one another (ie: old high school friends, kids they went to kindergarten with). So unless you start hanging out in the suburbs or start dating one of them, it takes a lot of effort to infiltrate those social circles.

Those who moved to Vancouver from elsewhere socialize with others from elsewhere. It sounds obvious, but this is often the case. This is especially true in certain industries (like video games) where they almost always import talent from elsewhere.

And then there are people who move en masse from another city. For example, a lot of people from Edmonton move to Vancouver after high school, only to hang out with all their friends they made in Edmonton.

Those have been my observations, as a wannabe anthropologist. ;)

Connie said...

Sounds like being a local in Vancouver is like being a native Floridian - first thing most people say when you tell them is 'Really?'

I love Google's street view, and have used it often when driving to a new location. I don't have a GPS, but I can remember maps and directions - esp. if I have a visual to go by!

Thanks for dropping by my blog. I was such a slacker this summer when we were in between assignments - I think that being in limbo disconnected me a bit, I just didn't feel like writing since I didn't feel in control of the answers - but I think I've cured that and am feeling much more bloggy again. Good thing too, because I am finding our new home to be very interesting. I'll have to explore your blog now too. I've never spent time in Canada, but my family came through Quebec to get to the US (in the 16-1700's) and family tree research has been getting me curious.

The pale observer said...

t! Vancouver is a beautiful city. My son is going to UBC and it's great to get the chance to visit...

Also - thanks for visiting and following over at Holli's Ramblings!!!

Robyn said...

Connie - I can totally relate (re: "Really?").

Glad to hear you're keeping up with the blogging. I have my periods of limbo myself. I'm trying to be much more frequent with my postings though. In the past I felt that if I was going to post something, it must be absolutely profound - worthwhile, you know? And yet, the blogs I check back on the most are blogs where people are updating the most, even to share one photo or a quick paragraph. I figure I'll take that approach and see how it goes.

BTW - you should definitely visit Canada when you get a chance, especially knowing your roots. :)

Quebec in particular is such a fascinating place - it's truly unlike anywhere else in North America, and it has its own culture and history. A truly cool place. My boyfriend is originally from Montreal, so I get to visit ever so often. It's really like travelling to a different country compared to Vancouver.

Robyn said...

The pale observer (Holli?) :) - Thanks for dropping by!

If you get a chance, you should definitely visit your son while he's at UBC. I'm actually UBC alumni myself - it's a great campus. If you visit, be sure to see the Museum of Anthropology and the Nitobe Japanese gardens when you go. There are also some great beaches nearby.

What's he studying? :)