Street View in the API (or, How I Spent My Summer "Vacation")

Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 10:57:00 AM

For the past three months I have had the great pleasure of working as an intern with the Google Maps API team in Sydney. Unfortunately my time is now up and I must head back to the mundane life of a undergraduate scholar, but before I do I'm ecstatic to announce that my intern project is FINALLY complete: Street View is now in the Google Maps API!

Many of you will already have seen Street View as part of If you haven't, click this link to give it a go. Street View allows users to view 3D panoramas of various locations around the world and to navigate around neighborhoods as if they were (almost) really there.

We've worked hard to ensure that Street View in the API gives developers the power and control they need to embed this functionality in their own websites in whatever way they wish. The API allows you to embed one or multiple panoramas in any location on a site and move, remove, hide and unhide them as necessary. Panoramas can also be easily integrated with the rest of the Google Maps API to allow synchronization between the map and the panorama viewer. The blue tile layer overlays which show where Street View data is available can be added to your own maps using the GStreetviewOverlay class. The following example mimics the Google Maps functionality with the tile layer and rotating Street View icon:

By far the coolest feature (in my opinion) is the ability to control the embedded viewer using Javascript functions on the GStreetviewPanorama object. The panTo function changes the current point of view by performing a smooth animation between the current and target view. An example of this is the app below which does a 360 degree pan around the current location (for all you people too lazy to use your mouse):

There's a whole lot more functionality available in the API than I could ever cover in one blog post, so check out the documentation, reference, demos, and start experimenting! Once you're done, post a link to your experiment in the forum. We'll check them out, post the most fun and practical demos in a blog post and our demo gallery, and send the authors some nifty Google schwag.

Before I sign off, I'd like to thank the entire Google Maps team for their help in getting this project complete. I had a fantastic time interning with Google and learnt a phenomenal amount.

(former) Intern: James McGill