Street View Movies

I cannot even remember what I was doing poking around San Francisco with Google Maps, but I was looking around The City with the Street View option turned on it was along a stretch of a street I notice that as I move around, I was following the same car. This makes sense as the images are taken from a special camera mounted on top of a vehicle.

And then a flash- I could navigate around with this camera and collect still frames.. or do a screen capture. and make a movie. I call my first effort “The Streetview(s) of San Francisco” as I took a spin down Lombard Street, the “Crookedest Street in the World”


I did this in about 20 minutes on My MacBookPro.

  1. Located Lombard Street on Google Maps with Street View turned on
  2. Opened up iShowU, the Mac app for capturing screen action onto QuickTime. Set the capture Area to be right over the street view region
  3. Started capture, navigate in street view with arrows- trick turns on those curves!
  4. Opene the captured in QuickTime Player- ugh, the microphone caught my clicking and breathing. It needs a sound track! I use the QT tools to delete the sound track Window -> Show Movie Properties; select Sound Track; click Delete.
  5. Find a sound track on SkreemR. Searched on “street chase” and found Police Chase from a Brazilian band called Spiritual Robots.
  6. Opened the downloaded mp3 file on QuickTime Player. I used the edit controls to select the portion after 1:238 (the duration of my video), and deleted the sound track after 1:28. Did a select all on the audio file. Then went to my movie, and used the Select All to choose the entire movie, and then used Edit -> Add to Selection & Scale which inserts the audio track over the video.
  7. Used the File -> export options for Medium-Broadband, and then adjusted the size options to the atypical dimensions (608×320) — I could have done a letterbox effect to make it fit

Those are the mechanics, and there are other ways to capture or put frames into movies. But more than I am wondering, what could one create by using Google Map Street view as a movie camera?

If this kind of stuff has value, please support me by tossing a one time PayPal kibble or monthly on Patreon
Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Alan, that is quite neat. Have you seen the version of Lombard Street in Map Jack? It is an alternative to street view in Google Maps although it is still early days.


    They only have visuals from San Francisco, Sausalito and, as well, Chiang Mai in Thailand. The images are quiet clear and one has the ability to alter the quality of the image by clicking on the star tool in the lower left hand corner. They have a different approach to navigation. You can click on the navigation arrows or click on blue discs that allow you to advance. They seem to be off centre at times. [The discs remind me of the stepping discs on the planet inhabited by the Pierson’s Puppeteers. You stepped on a disc and that would teleport you to the next disc further down the block. Like magical stepping stones. I carry on too much.]


    Interesting that the developers of MapJack place the user tools in the lower left hand corner. Years ago when developing HyperCard stacks and also CD-ROMs using Director we always placed the Quit button in the lower left corner as it was generally considered the last place an eye would roam towards. It was considered, according to the research, a ‘dead’ area. We would place the navigation and various other buttons in the lower right or upper right corner. Seems like a generation ago.


  2. Thanks fellow Mac user. Nice step by step. Will give it a spin over some of my favourite cities and integrate with holiday shots for an iDVD ‘postcards from …’ presentation.

  3. Great idea! This could be a great tool to do some fun virtual tours of major cities.

    You might try using the arrow keys next time instead of using the mouse.

    Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *