Saturday, 30 July 2016

Google Maps, Google Street View and Google Photospheres

Dear all,

I’ve been without a smartphone for over two months now and as much as I am enjoying having a nice chunk of my life back (I’m guilty as anyone of wasting far too much time on social media instead of keeping my head up looking at real life all around me) in terms of keeping my company social media accounts active it has made an impact. For one, I haven’t used Instagram all that time and it’s a shame because I actually really enjoyed it. I have tweeted less and although I’m active on my laptop, it’s just not the same. I’ll be getting a replacement phone soon, probably within the next few weeks and coincidentally I received an email from Google Maps saying my photospheres have been viewed over a million times and that I am eligible to join Google Local Guides.


I really enjoyed taking photospheres on my iPhone even though it never really stitched them together properly, and the more battered my phone became the worse the images  came out. I was considering upgrading to the iPhone 6 or even waiting a few months and seeing what options there were on the 7 as the camera will be so much better than the 5 but it pains me because it’s so much money a month and I’m finding it harder and harder to justify (I wasn’t the UK person who won the £61 million pound lottery Friday night unfortunately) but what is even harder to justify is buying a £200 360 camera…The thing is… I WANT IT! You can take really amazing images and it's become a fun hobby for me. There are lots to choose from and the range in price is vast but here’s the one I’m interested in, especially as it links directly with Google Street View:

Google Local Guides

There are a number of things you can do when you contribute to Google Maps and being a local guide is simply an official recognition of people who do so regularly and to a high quality, although the higher level you reach the more benefits and special offers you are eligible for. You can find out more here:

The reason I find it a compelling thing to be part of, is that I find  it interesting to share the research I undertake for my stories. (I should qualify the term ‘research’ here. I simply mean anything I do that helps me visualize the story I want to tell and with regards this blog, I specifically mean when I take walks or trips to locations I want to use.) I may use the locations I visit in my stories by referencing them by name and explaining where they are, or I may just use it as a template, or source idea, for a made up location. Either way, I think it’s a nice idea to share with people where these real locations are. I enjoy taking photos and I think 360s are fun so why not? It’s a good way of networking and sharing places that mean something to me with people over the world and to a far lesser extent (i.e. just to me) referencing my stories and the inspirations behind them. I have loads of places to share and that is why it is so tempting. It seems quite a nice project to link in all these things together and I think in some small way it will help my online presence. And think of all the possibilities with 360 video, which I've not even touched upon yet!

But, it’s still £200!

Time for a long think… I’ll let you know what I end up doing (and how I managed to steal the money as you know I’m getting it… )

R.G Rankine