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April 9, 2009 9:11 AM   Subscribe

It's the wrong time of year for Street View to come to the Ether City
Google Street View is in Winnipeg this week, and some of us are absolutely appalled by this idea - but not for the reasons you may think. Winnipeg has several beautiful seasons ...but early spring isn't one of them. We're having a flood, the streets are f - i - l - t - h - y and the city lies exhausted from a long winter. It's the wrong time of year for Google Street View to come for a visit...
posted by sporb (48 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Agreed (as someone from Edmonton, recently streetviewed in the most appalling of all seasons).

Locals are the ones most likely to dick around with street view (at least to begin with), why remind of them of what they are trying desperately to forget? It shouldn't matter and yet...

It's like getting getting your passport photo on the day you stumbled out of bed late without combing your hair or shaving, hungover.
posted by mazola at 9:16 AM on April 9, 2009


Life in Canada seems harsh and difficult.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:18 AM on April 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


The blog advice to print 'welcome Google' signs reminds me of a scene in Independence Day.
posted by acro at 9:20 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Usually they run through once or twice... in my city, some of the street view images are gray, dirt and miserable and some are of beautiful, sun-drenched summer days.
posted by setanor at 9:24 AM on April 9, 2009


Sorry, I missed how they know these are Google cars. Google isn't the only company that collects this sort of imagery. Amazon has collected it in the past as do the various mapping data providers, like TeleAtlas and NAVTEQ. Proof that these cars belong to Google please?
posted by GuyZero at 9:31 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


According to the first link, "the vehicle they’re using is a Chevrolet Cobalt sedan with Ontario plates. There’s a Google logo affixed to the driver and passenger doors. "
posted by statolith at 9:36 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't they deliberately photograph at times of the year when there are less leaves on the trees, so storefronts and so on are more visible?

I think they're doing Halifax right now too, which is similarly bedraggled at this time of year.
posted by oulipian at 9:36 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I admit, I'm believing in the news media here. It's a little easier to do that in Canada. Anyway, here's another piece with more info...
posted by sporb at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2009


... why remind of them of what they are trying desperately to forget?

The magic camera car drove past a friend of mine in Winnipeg right after she was dumped by her boyfriend. Those Google jerks sure have a knack for timing.
posted by whatnotever at 9:44 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Honestly, mid-winter would be better for all concerned. Still leaves off the tree for the aforementioned storefronts, but anybody on the street (aside from the cool high school kids, of course) will be mummy-wrapped in parkas and scarves. Even identifying them would be a problem.

At the same time, I have to wonder (from memory), wouldn't street views be blocked by large mounds of brown and grey salt/sand covered snow about now? Those things seem to hang around forever.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:53 AM on April 9, 2009


I remember going to a Science Centre conference and all the Scandinavian Centres had promo shots taken in the winter, with snow drifts and icy beauty abounding. Canadians, who spent half the year snowbound, have a neurotic dislike for winter shots of our beautiful winter city...
posted by sporb at 9:57 AM on April 9, 2009


I am not going to ever visit Winnipeg. According to Google Maps street view, it's streets are filthy and have been like that for weeks.
posted by Plutor at 10:03 AM on April 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Victoria and Vancouver are beautiful at any time of year (unlike the rest of Canada).
posted by KokuRyu at 10:06 AM on April 9, 2009


I wonder what Guy Maddin thinks of this? This whole story sounds like an anecdote taken straight out of My Winnipeg. I can hear him describing the public outcry, conflicting reasons of aesthetics and privacy, maybe a digression about the mutability of Winnipeg itself.
posted by Dia Nomou Nomo Apethanon at 10:09 AM on April 9, 2009


They're in Montreal too this week, I saw the car (with the google logo) 2 times while walking to work. They should have waited till summer...
posted by coust at 10:13 AM on April 9, 2009


Google also came through Muncie at the absolute ugliest time of the year...sometime between January and January.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:25 AM on April 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


If my grandmom lived in Winnipeg, she'd be out there scrubbing the street in front of her house right now.
posted by orme at 10:25 AM on April 9, 2009


Victoria and Vancouver are beautiful at any time of year (unlike the rest of Canada).

That's right, and every tenth visit, you get one free half-hour glimpse of the mountains through the otherwise omnipresent haze!
posted by gompa at 10:38 AM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Plutor: "it's"
You idiot.

posted by Plutor at 10:44 AM on April 9, 2009


The Ether City?
posted by box at 10:51 AM on April 9, 2009


This would be easily solved if Google would just put real time cameras every 5 feet on every street in the inhabited world. Look for the beta version of that soon.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:52 AM on April 9, 2009


Thank god for the 21st century, where people can complain about the time of year that a car takes archival pictures of their city for people to tour halfway around the globe.
posted by mark242 at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


The Ether City?

Just come to Winnipeg in January, when it's -30C and 50km winds, you will feel the Ether! Often, at those times, especially around dusk, it seems as if there is NOTHING between the surface of the planet and the cold void of space...
posted by sporb at 11:01 AM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think early spring is pretty common for Google. IIRC, the Providence photos were also taken in early spring. No snow, but also, no leaves.

And yes, butt ugly.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:03 AM on April 9, 2009


Google only recently got rid of their satellite imagery of Edmonton taken on a late winter afternoon, which (if you live in Edmonton you know) means it was 2 feet of snow and long, long, dark shadows obscuring everything. It was horrible and you couldn't recognize anything.

THINK Google!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:11 AM on April 9, 2009


Then again, I've been to Winnipeg. Is there EVER a good time to take pictures of that city?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:12 AM on April 9, 2009


The Ether City?

The only thing that really worried me was Winnipeg. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of a Winnipeg spring thaw. And I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon. Probably at the next update of Google Maps Street View. We had sampled almost every other Canadian city, and now -- yes, it was time for a Street View of Winnipeg. And then listen to The Tragically Hip in a horrible, slobbering sort of spastic stupor. The only way to keep alert in Winnipeg is to do up a lot of Labatt Sterling -- not all at once, but steadily, just enough to maintain the focus at Tim Hortons.
posted by The World Famous at 11:31 AM on April 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Ether City?

That's where the Ether Bunny lives.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:47 AM on April 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I missed how they know these are Google cars.

As statolith states, they're readily identifiable. I saw one in my hometown while I was driving around - it was an otherwise regular looking car, but had a Google logo affixed to the side, as well as a 3' tall tripod with an odd looking camera affixed to the roof. I pretty much figured out it was a street view car before even seeing the logo on the side. They're pretty hard to misidentify.
posted by LionIndex at 12:02 PM on April 9, 2009


Filthy scenes can be beautiful in their own way.

Don't worry. With Streetview resolution, people will just think the town is melting into piles of goo, not that it's a dirty place.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:51 PM on April 9, 2009


Sans the Google logo, they could belong to one of several companies. Amazon has street-level photo data of numerous US cities. But it was a reading comprehension failure on my part that I missed that part of the article.
posted by GuyZero at 12:54 PM on April 9, 2009


The problem may well be that the window of opportunity for taking a picture of Winnipeg in Spring/Summer/Fall seems to be steadily shrinking. What did winter last this year? 7 months?

Sorry... I'm just a Winnipegger dealing with some late Spring resentment issues. But hey, I hear it might stop dropping below 0 celcius sometime this weekend! Anyone seen my swimming furs?
posted by joelhunt at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2009


Amazon has street-level photo data of numerous US cities.

Ah, I was not aware of that.
posted by LionIndex at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2009


Coming from a land where one's expectation of privacy is about nil in a public place, Canada's privacy legislation seems kind of strange: if its journalistic, artistic or literary the photo is OK, as if either of the three of those tools could not be used to radically invade one's privacy.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:04 PM on April 9, 2009


Google only recently got rid of their satellite imagery of Edmonton taken on a late winter afternoon, which (if you live in Edmonton you know) means it was 2 feet of snow and long, long, dark shadows obscuring everything. It was horrible and you couldn't recognize anything.

Heck, when Google Maps first launched, my neighbourhood in Regina was obscured by a cloud!

(I'll pre-emptively thank Winnipegers to refrain from the jokes. We're in this together, y'know?)
posted by evilcolonel at 1:23 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


News today that privacy, apparently, only goes so far in Canada...
posted by sporb at 1:26 PM on April 9, 2009


This would be easily solved if Google would just put real time cameras every 5 feet on every street in the inhabited world.

Google London?
posted by rokusan at 2:27 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


My neighbour spotted a Google camera car yesterday in Montreal.
posted by Jode at 2:44 PM on April 9, 2009


They caught one of my neighbors mowing his yard. And large parts of the New Orleans Street View set are, shall we say, a bit post-Katrina.
posted by localroger at 4:23 PM on April 9, 2009


Victoria and Vancouver are beautiful at any time of year (unlike the rest of Canada).

Vancouver is a depressing bonechilling rain-soaked nightmare from November to March, at best. The rest of the year is pretty nice, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:15 PM on April 9, 2009


The Ether City?

Does this mean Britney Spears won't play Winnipeg?
posted by Tube at 5:34 PM on April 9, 2009


Actually, I think it's a great idea to colect representative imagery of locations which have noticeable seasonal variation in their appearance. If anything at all, being able to see the different weather conditions at ground level in an area while sitting in the comfort of your own home would seem to me to be quite advantageous, especially if one is considering a move to a distant clime.

I'm now going to patent this idea, found my new startup called weathr, and wait for Google to buy me out for a brazillian dollars.
posted by ooga_booga at 7:38 PM on April 9, 2009


Vancouver has too many annoying mountains blocking my view of the horizon.

I think they should do Toronto in October. That's when we are best. But then, we are the prettiest city I have ever visited - all those lovely treelined streets and green ravines.

No, I have no hometown bias, what are you talking about?

Actually, I do think Toronto is really nice looking - especially the semi-urban areas (neither right downtown or suburban). Low-rise, lots of green - much more green and more parks than the American city I currently live in, though we're about the same density (or less).
posted by jb at 9:00 PM on April 9, 2009


The Ether City?

How would that work as an R3-30 jingle?
posted by stannate at 11:15 PM on April 9, 2009


How would that work as an R3-30 jingle?

I dunno..." Winnipeg!
It's the Ether City!
It's the City of
Ten
Thousand
Daves.......
Winnipeg! It's the Ether City!"
posted by sporb at 11:58 PM on April 9, 2009


They're getting in after the blowing snow and before the clouds of mosquitoes.
Can you blame them?
posted by Pseudonumb at 12:09 AM on April 10, 2009


Is this where I complain about the shitty, shitty quality of Google Street View photos? Here in San Francisco, it's usually impossible to read addresses and signs. Zooming doesn't help.

What the hell, Google? I want to read parking signs and store hours, damn it.
posted by ryanrs at 4:46 AM on April 10, 2009


What the hell, Google? I want to read parking signs and store hours, damn it.

If you recall when Google first released Street Views (the Bay Area was first to be online, of course) the image quality was indeed pretty clear, and zooming made it more so. This caused all sorts of backlash concerning privacy and Google subsequently began blurring all the imagery. Ideally, Google would have a lead vehicle in its camera car crews that would blare a recorded message telling everyone to look their best for the cameras. Kind of like the ice cream truck, only more Big Brotherly.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:05 AM on April 10, 2009


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