To the detriment of a great deal of work that needed to be done today, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Google Street View had finally been added to many cities across Canada today, Montreal included. For anyone unfamiliar with Google Street View, it is a function of Google Maps and Google Earth that allows you to see 360 degree photos at street level of any place where the Google car has gone. Once you’ve found a place you want to see, you can look in any direction as well as zoom in and out and “drive” down the street to any other street that has been mapped.
Street View first launched in 2007 in a few large U.S. cities where they have since mapped pretty much the entire country, not just cities, but also winding country roads, small towns, and freeways. A number of western European cities were added this year, with more to come. Canada would have had its cities go live much sooner had it not been for various issues concerning privacy laws that are different than those in the U.S..
According to today’s Globe and Mail, the Canadian cities that have been mapped include Toronto, Calgary, Banff National Park, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax, Vancouver, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Squamish, Whistler, Ottawa, Hamilton, Kitchener and Waterloo. Fagstein has screen shots showing how much of each city has been mapped, along with a shot of the U.S. map. The photo above at 4076, Hôtel-de-Ville shows where the shooting for Street View “began” as pointed out by a commenter on Fagstein’s post. Moving one block north will show a very different autumn street which goes to show just how long it took to map the entire city and much of north and south shore suburbs. Not surprisingly, this is the same spot where the Street View car has been sitting for the past year.