Make your own Google Street View rig

If you've ever wanted your own Street View car, Roy Ragsdale now shows you how to put one together yourself.

Ragsdale hooked his camera up to a jeep and drove around West Point at up to 100 kilometers per hour capturing images. He programmed his rig to take one set of images every 20 seconds, and in an hour had 300MB of data. IEEE Spectrum

Google Wave is getting all the Googley press this week, but let us not forget one of The Goog's other impressive creations: Street View in Google Maps.

As part of a "disruptive technologies" course at West Point, Roy Ragsdale put together his very own Street View camera vehicle, and in an IEEE Spectrum article, he offers a fairly straightforward and cool how-to on doing the same. Why you'd want to is beyond me. Sure, it's cool, but I like to spend my spare time talking to girls.

Street View, of course, affords panoramic views of places on Google Maps so you can get a street-level view of the place you're looking at.

Ragsdale's rig uses a handful of Microsoft NX-6000 LifeCams that he picked up for $25 a pop, and a GlobalSat BU-353 GPS receiver he got for $37, all of which he plugs into a standard Ubuntu-powered laptop to map where he's been. The setup uses open-source software like luvcview from Logitech, so anyone could probably make this happen with a little tweaking. On top of that, all the parts are off-the-shelf. That sounds like it could be simple enough for a great weekend project.

What you do with the images is up to you, though. Google currently isn't accepting home-brewed Street View pictures, though it would be cool if it did. It would allow smaller towns that Google hasn't yet seen fit to Street Viewify to get on the map, as it were. But we're not holding our breath on that.

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.


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