Google Street View is finally available for ten cities in India and is expected to roll out in about 50 more cities by the end of the year 2022.
The 360-degree interactive panorama feature of Google Maps has been available in cities spread over 100 countries since 2007.
In India, unlike in other markets, Google Street View is powered by images from third parties as per the National Geospatial Policy, 2021.
What is Google Street View?
Google Street View is an immersive 360-degree view of a location captured using special cameras mounted on vehicles or on backpacks by data collectors moving around the city streets.
The images are then patched together to create a 360-degree view which users can swipe through to get a detailed view of the location.
It is available to view on Android and iOS using the app, or as a web view.
What is Geo-spatial Technology?
Geospatial Technology is an emerging field of study that includes Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), and Global Positioning System (GPS).
Geospatial technology enables us to acquire data that is referenced to the earth and use it for analysis, modelling, simulations, and visualization.
Some Application of Geo-spatial Technologies
Geospatial data: is data about objects, events, or phenomena that have a location on the surface of the earth.
GNSS & Positioning
How has Street View now been launched in India?
The National Geospatial Policy, 2021 lets Indian companies collect map data and license it to others.
Google has tied up with Tech Mahindra and Mumbai-based GenesysInternational to enable Street View for 10 Indian cities initially.
This is the first time Google is working with partner data to enable this feature.
In India, the data will be collected and owned by these partners.
While the Google Maps gives users the ability to plot a route and see the satellite view of the same, often this does not give a clear idea of the road conditions.
With Street View, users will be able to see exactly how a new destination looks like, and even explore local businesses before going there.
Restricted to Specific areas: Street View in India is not allowed for restricted areas like government properties, defence establishments and military areas. This means in a place like Delhi, the cantonment area will be out of bounds for Street View.
Privacy issues: Over the years a lot of privacy and other issues have been raised regarding Street View.
People faces and other identifiable aspects, like car number plates and house numbers, being captured by the camera and being misused in different ways.
National Geo-Spatial Policy 2021
The Policy is guided by the following underlying principles in its intent and scope:
Recognizing the potential of Geospatial Sector in knowledge and wealth creation and providing for an enabling environment
Augment Geospatial education in the country by ‘catching them young’ and igniting geospatial spark in young minds from school level onwards
Standardization and certification of courses and skill sets
Policies and guidelines to be aligned with emerging technologies and ground realities
Level playing field for Government and non- Government sectors
Ease of doing business
Encourage creation and incubation of ideas and start-ups
Availability of real and near real time data and information
Reduce duplication and wastage of efforts in producing Geospatial data
Promote collaboration, including Public Private Partnerships, between various agencies in production and use of Geospatial data
Survey of India topographic data to be treated as common good and made easily available
Geospatial data and information produced using public fund to be shared as per National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy 2012.
Standardization of formats so that Geospatial data is available in an interoperable machine-readable form
Assessment of sensitivity of Geospatial data and information for sharing to be done weighing security/strategic considerations against potential contribution to socio-economic development