Google Earth and Street View Provide Insights for Urban Designers
For years, Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto has been advocating development that builds on the city’s human scale, proximity of buildings and historic architecture. He envisions a city that engages its citizens to promote streets for walking and bicycling as well as public transportation and cars.
Google Earth, and its ground-level cousin, Street View, can be considered the greatest urban design tools ever created. Anyone with an Internet connection can download it free and visit every corner of the globe on his computer screen. Google Earth provides seamless color satellite imagery of the entire planet, and Street View shows ground-level images along streets and roads in more than 35 countries.Of course, engineers, planners and design professionals have been using Google Earth and Street View since their inception in 2005 and 2007, but lots of laymen, including planning board members and many other public officials, have never tried them.
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Matt Ball is a former editor and publisher of V1 Media.