Monday, February 10, 2014

Houston Google Street Art - An Appreciation for Google Street View

Google Street allows us to take a tour of just about anywhere in the United States, and most populous places around the world. I regularly use Google Street to explore areas I may stay while travelling, just as millions of others do. Google Street also aides in the professional realm, allowing development professionals to gain an idea of what a site might look like, but this is surely not a replacement for the old-fashioned site visit. It is a tremendous tool that allows for exploration, but

Spending some time on Google Street can make you feel like you've actually traveled. You can walk on the beaches in Hawaii and see a sea turtle landing on shore. You can take a gondola ride in Venice, Italy or stroll through an old British submarine.You can even walk through some of the National Park Service's trail systems. There are flash mobs that wait for the Google Street View Trekker to drive by. Without a doubt there have been some unfortunate and funny captures for all of the world to see.

There are lists of the most embarrassing moments in Google Street View history (although I am certain most of these are staged.)  There's also the list of illicit acts captured. The lists of Google Street View images of interest started almost immediately as mapping imagery was being released.

But most interesting are the lists of art created by, or captured in, Google Street View. Most of these pictures are in rural areas, and there are Tumblr accounts dedicated to beautiful Street View images. Finally, one artist, Emilio Vavarella, has found beauty in the errors that have taken place in the Street View filming process. He chronicled these instances in his work entitled Report a Problem.

So, as an experiment, I took to the streets of Houston using Google Street View to capture some of the more artistic scenes, and jazzed them up with some Instagram and Photoshop-like filters found in Pixlr. (And, as a note, the Google Street View car has not made a trip through Downtown Houston since the Spring of 2011. I did not live in Houston at that point, so it's great to see that there's quite a bit that has changed since then.) Google Street has also documented some Houston attractions, such as the Houston Zoo, as recent as 2013.

Overall, there has been a great deal of change in Houston's landscape since the images were taken, so Houston can pat itself on its back for the amount of change that's taken place in just a few years.

City Limit on I-10 West

Shotgun Houses

De Luxe Theater

Elephants at the Houston Zoo

Downtown as viewed from Chenevert Street

Houston traffic

Heights Theater

Enjoying a cold one.

Neighborhood Store

HPD in action

Ready to be demolished