Street View gets groovified with stereographic animations

Two animations that tap Google Street View for images -- and then make "Little Planets" out of them -- let you travel around the world again and again and again.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
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Edward Moyer
2 min read
Frames from Heathsplosion's "Street View Stereographic animation," (top) and Giacomo Miceli's "Chemin Vert." The videos are embedded below. Screenshots by Edward Moyer/CNET

Google's Street View keeps on playing the muse to various digital artistes out there and yielding interesting visual confections.

Our buddies over at the Creators Project have made us aware of a trippy little film called "Chemin Vert" that uses Street View images to let Rome-based creator Giacomo Miceli visualize what he calls on his site "one of my childhood fantasies, riding a rocket launched at full speed just above the ground of a long road."

The vid takes us around the world over and over again, across five continents and through four seasons in the space of 3 minutes and 15 seconds. (The music for which the film is named is by electronic musician A Ghost Train).

The Creators Project blog post, in concert with our own curiosity and a little extra digging, has also made us aware that "Chemin Vert" seems to be an example of a budding genre of sorts. Namely, one in which somebody takes Street View images, creates stereographic projections -- aka "Little Planets" -- with them, and then animates the result.

We found another example that cropped up here and there earlier in the year, the literally titled "Street View Stereographic animation," posted on YouTube by Heathsplosion and created using Street View Stereographic (a tool that lets anyone make Little Planets out of Street View images -- and presumably the tool Miceli used). (If you're browsing with a WebGL-supporting browser such as Chrome, you can check out the tool directly here.)

Apart from one other example, included in another post from the Creators Project, about Street View Stereographic creator Ryan Alexander, we couldn't find any other instances of animations like these. But please do hip-ify us in the comments section if we've managed to overlook something.

The Miceli film is actually only one of three versions, but it's the stereographic version, and it's the one we're concerned with here. To read about the "Chemin Vert" project as a whole, go to this page.

But now, take a look at Miceli's work, alongside Heathsplosion's, and contemplate the aesthetics of this spacey, fish-eyed filmic approach and how both these creators are able to evoke decidedly different moods.