Google’s Street View already covered much of the world, and now the California tech giant has officially approved a “Street View-ready” camera for amateur cartographers wishing to fill in the few remaining blanks.
Just don’t expect an entirely amateur-friendly price. The Insta360 Pro camera captures 360-degree images at up to five frames per second in magnificent 8K resolution and boasts real-time image stabilization. Sound impressive? It is. $3,500 (about £2,644/AU$4,467) impressive, in fact.
Google first announced its Street View-ready program in May, which allowed enthusiasts with equipment that meets its certifications for mobile, auto, virtual reality, and workflow to submit their own data.
The Insta360 Pro is the first camera to receive the “auto-ready” distinction, which means it’s the best camera to pick up if your idea of fun is slapping a camera on your car’s roof and driving around the countryside in the service of Google.
And apparently it’s essentially all you need, as you can reportedly control the camera with the Street View app and upload the images to Google straight from the Insta360 Pro Stitcher software.
On the road again
Street View’s reach may be extensive, but even in the United States, many remote roads still haven’t made it into the database. (I happen to live on one of them.)
For that matter, some of the older, original Street View images from the last decade are somewhat embarrassingly out-of-date, with the original captures showing up as barely more than muddy pixels on today’s higher-resolution monitors. It’s unclear, though, if Google will allow modern data from the Insta360 Pro to replace the old imagery.
Still interested in 360-degree virtual reality but don’t feel like plunking out a couple of months’ worth of rent? There’s also an Insta360 “Nano” that captures video in 3K resolution for a mere $199/£189 (about AU$254). Just don’t expect Google to want your photos.