The best of Google Street View
October 10, 2019 8:18 PM   Subscribe

9-eyes, Jon Rafman's blog of images from Google maps is back after resting for 5+ years. [cw: dead bodies, car accident scenes, etc.]
posted by dobbs (31 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just a heads up, there are scenes of car accidents, Including one with a body, not for idle scrolling.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:25 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


The Bing photo was the strangest
posted by greenhornet at 8:33 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


This is so perfect that it seems like it must be staged, but that looks like a real grip on the hair...

Also, I feel bad for the horse (not the pony, the one a couple of pictures down) on the first page, it is starved.
posted by tavella at 9:23 PM on October 10


Disappointed to realize that while these may be sourced via Google Maps, not all the images are random caps by g-cars.
posted by mwhybark at 9:33 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


While some of them are definitely their scenic trip specials, the bus crash one was apparently genuine street view. It's been re-scanned since then, but if you look at the current street view you can still see where two of the bollards are shinier and newer than the others, where it wrecked them.
posted by tavella at 9:39 PM on October 10


I differ, tavella. Lower left in the link I posted is a clear copyright notice to one Bradford Bohonus. The event was a feature of a particular ice storm in 2008. Mind, I am not disputing that this image can be accessed via Google Street View; but the image was not captured via a Google camera vehicle, and therefore, I am disappointed that 9 eyes is an inaccurate moniker.
posted by mwhybark at 9:51 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


This would appear to be the website of the licensing photographer, and his work is pretty cool!
posted by mwhybark at 9:55 PM on October 10


Heh, that image jumped out at me, too, because I remember that crash. (Well, the fact of it. I wasn't actually in that neighborhood at the time.) And because the compass is indicating north while we're looking south. But I think that legitimately could be a capture from Street View. It looks like what happened was that in 2013, Google included Bohonus' 360-degree panorama of the 2008 crash as a single point panorama, like this nearby one that's still there. The bus isn't there now, but I think it must have been in 2013. There are enough sites that link to where it ought to be that I have to assume it was actually there, then. I'm still confused about the compass thing, though.
posted by hades at 10:42 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


pictures of someone riding a pony is cool, what about the ones with people photographed being assaulted, arrested &c without their consent, what
posted by pingu at 11:00 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


hades, my analysis is that Bohonus lived in the neighborhood, and did some laudable Johnny-on-the-spot indie shooting, and then presumably made the assets available to the big G. I can’t speak for anyone but me, but there is no possible way you could have paid me to drive down those streets during these events, and I lived on the Hill from 1990 to 2007. I think he walked, or maybe even ran, to the site with his rig, and good on him. I guess we could, you know, ask.
posted by mwhybark at 11:36 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


I was in Seattle that week of the bus crash. I didn’t see it but it was a big deal. Seattle was having a huge freak snowstorm. It was nuts.
posted by gt2 at 11:58 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Nobody has commented on the fact that the blog is back after its hiatus because Rafman was just resting his eyes. It's in the post, people!
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:54 AM on October 11


I'm not sure scenes like this constitute "the best" of anything. It seems pretty callous and cruel to throw that up alongside all the cute and amusing images there otherwise. Like, a dude with a silly mask! An overturned truck full of sand! A kid on a cute horse! What appears to be a woman being abducted and put in a car boot! Oh such fun!

Like yes, I understand that that may well not be what is happening there. But it seems to me that the picture is included because it appears that it is what's happening, and someone thought that was amusing. Ugh.
posted by Dysk at 2:24 AM on October 11 [5 favorites]


pictures of someone riding a pony is cool
Hell the fuck not. The first pony is totally overloaded and having their mouth torn, the second horse is hella underweight and about to be whipped by the look of the leather strap in the rider's hand. Not cool at all.
posted by Thella at 4:28 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


Like yes, I understand that that may well not be what is happening there. But it seems to me that the picture is included because it appears that it is what's happening, and someone thought that was amusing. Ugh.

Not sure how you arrived at "amusing". For me, the blog has always piqued my interest in the same way that Weegee photos do: they provide snapshots of the world surrounding us that we otherwise would never witness either because we're caught up in our own thoughts or our presence alters the activity of others -- or they depict events that one normally thinks of as happening behind closed doors.

Obviously, none of us know what's happening in any of the photos -- whether they're real or staged. However, having gone through the whole blog multiple times over the years, amusing never entered into it for me.
posted by dobbs at 5:03 AM on October 11 [10 favorites]


These are mostly dark and I stopped scrolling after figuring out the amusement-to-sadness ratio was not in my favor.
posted by terrapin at 5:12 AM on October 11 [6 favorites]


Not sure how you arrived at "amusing".

The pictures around it being largely pratfalls silly masks and other amusing images, just with a few disturbing ones mixed in. Which is not a good presentation or mix.

And then there's the title of this post: "the best of Google Street View".
posted by Dysk at 5:17 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


Guy riding the donkey in the first pic is 100% Dublin, Ireland.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:49 AM on October 11


Hey, it's a furry from Pittsburgh's Anthrocon.
posted by octothorpe at 6:04 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


I don't think the blogger is trying to make a point out of juxtaposing photos with different moods, they're just finding interesting photos where the "interesting" requirement can be fulfilled in multiple ways.
posted by ardgedee at 6:36 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


[Added a content warning.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:51 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


I sent a pointer to a friend where I said it was “a mix of surreal, slice-of-life and WTF is that there for?” But I think the issue is it’s all there in the source material, so the abduction? It’s a rare event, but it’s in the corpus he was searching. It’s kind of a truism that art isn’t just pretty pictures, and I think these qualify as art more a lot of stuff that is usually so tagged. I don’t think that the blog is endorsing abduction or animal abuse any more than the Holocaust Museum is endorsing the holocaust.

Some of the photos were disturbing, but don’t we have enough cute cat blogs or instant-grams or whatever to balance things out?
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 7:36 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


don’t we have enough cute cat blogs or instant-grams or whatever to balance things out?
Funny dog picture

How the heck does the google streetview car get inside some sort of stadium and inside SeaWorld?


Also I didn't take a picture because I was dumbfounded but the other day the TomTom car was passing the Google mapping car, and I'm assuming they were taking streetview pictures in some kind of odd race.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:55 AM on October 11


I came here to complain about the Seattle bus, but I see you've all handled it for me already.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 8:05 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]


"I'm not sure scenes like this constitute "the best" of anything. It seems pretty callous and cruel to throw that up alongside all the cute and amusing images there otherwise. Like, a dude with a silly mask! An overturned truck full of sand! A kid on a cute horse! What appears to be a woman being abducted and put in a car boot! Oh such fun!"

Insofar as these are random snapshots of humanity that happen to occur near a road at a time this camera car, this sort of thing is totally a fair representation to include. It would be weak and hollow if it was all just cute snapshots of people posing for the camera and some kids falling off bikes.

"Best" doesn't imply positive without additional context and art doesn't need to be all pretty and fun. Humanity is dark and disturbing and in some ways the shade being thrown at this is itself a kind of darkness. We're a mixed species, we can do more evil than demons and more good than angels.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:29 AM on October 11 [5 favorites]


"Best" doesn't imply positive without additional context

"Check it out, this is the best thing on streetview!"

[proceeds to show image of woman being violently abducted]

It implies something other than that.
posted by Dysk at 8:40 AM on October 11 [5 favorites]


Disappointed to realize that while these may be sourced via Google Maps, not all the images are random caps by g-cars.

Yes, I was confused by the source of some of the images.

The value in this blog is in the slice of life things captured - the arrests or violence or car crashes are all so common that they were captured by someone just driving around taking pictures. Sometimes, as with the Pittsburgh furry or this man gesturing to the heavens, they are delightful. In others, they are disturbing.

As for any animal cruelty shown: one could judge how heavily laden or starved an animal is, but I don't. For all I know, the kid riding the skinny horse is as hungry as the horse.
posted by jb at 9:16 AM on October 11


So the "abduction" one -- take another look at it. The woman has a cigarette in her hand, and the arm around her isn't actually one that looks like a forcing one. I suspect it's more likely two people laughing on a smoke break, and the other guy is just a bystander.
posted by tavella at 10:45 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


How the heck does the google streetview car get inside some sort of stadium and inside SeaWorld?

Photo Spheres are available with Google Street View. When you click and hold the little yellow man, they appear as small blue circles.

They don't seem to have the same Photo Sphere of the Orca Encounter available anymore, but there are still two Photospheres there.
posted by Quiscale at 10:59 AM on October 11


Forgot to mention:

They also have a backpack for when they want to map places on foot instead of using the car.
posted by Quiscale at 11:02 AM on October 11


Is this one evidence of a hit and run by Google?
posted by hypnogogue at 2:03 PM on October 11


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