PLATTSBURGH — A special car has been driving around the North Country collecting data for Google’s Street View project.
Data Collector Kevin Hough, a Plattsburgh native, has been filming high-resolution 360-degree views of the North Country from Port Kent to the Canadian border in the distinctive vehicle with prominent camera on top.
“I’m not sure how much of this area has been done before,” he said Monday.
But he has likely been filling in some gaps, he added.
Street View was begun as an experimental project, and it officially launched in five cities in May 2007, according to the Google website. Now, the online giant offers footage to viewers from all seven continents, from the South Pole to the Amazon to the Swiss Alps and beyond.
Street View images were originally taken from vans, but Google decided to use cars instead to make covering a large amount of territory easier. They also use trikes, trolleys and snowmobiles to gather information.
According to the website, the cameras used on the cars have been improved and now have 15 lenses that capture 360 degrees of images. A small computer runs the equipment, and the cars also have motion sensors, a hard drive to store the collected data and lasers that gather 3D data and distinguish distances from the Street View images.
Hough graduated from Plattsburgh State with a degree in geography and did master’s degree work and then was employed at the University of Kentucky.
He trained at Google headquarters in Mountainview, Calif., before working on the Street View project.
His two-week stay has been a “working vacation,” as he has enjoyed his time here visiting relatives.
“It’s been wonderful,” he said.
He will finish his data collection in Malone today and start his return trip home to Kentucky on Wednesday.
To learn more about the project, go to www.google.com/streetview.