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This week, Google Maps released a Historical feature for Street View, so now you can adjust your perspective through time as well as space as you digitally navigate the streets of the world. Simply go to Google Maps, type in an address, and click on “Street View” in the top left corner.  Like usual, it will show the most current view of the address at street level, but now there’s more.  In the top left again, there’s a little clock and the word “NEW!” in red.  Click on the clock, and you will see options for viewing that location as it looked in different months and years of the past.  The amount of timeframes available depends on the location, but there will probably be at least a couple other timeframes you can view.  I noted that my apartment building and office building had not changed much between the first timeframe and the last, but the latest timeframes available for those addresses were also a few years old. In bigger cities like New York City, Google’s Street View is updated more frequently.

I took a look at the evolution of the tallest new structure to be added to the city in recent years: 1 World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower.  Below you can see how the building changed from 2009, when construction was still in its early stages, to 2013, when it was just about complete. Here is the 2013 view:

A view of 1 World Trade Center in New York City in 2013, from Google Street View (maps.google.com)

A view of 1 World Trade Center in New York City in 2013, from Google Street View (maps.google.com)

And here is 2009, when the building was just scaffolding:

A view of 1 World Trade Center in New York City in 2009, from Google Street View (maps.google.com)

A view of 1 World Trade Center in New York City in 2009, from Google Street View (maps.google.com)

This is a pretty great advancement in online cartography. A static map, after all, only tells part of the story. At last Google’s Street View lets us see how places have changed over time.  Unfortunately, we can only look back to 2007 at the earliest, but it will become more and more useful in the future as Google continues to update its maps.

For more information, here is the source Link: http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2014/04/google-releases-historical-street-view-feature.html

Happy Mapping!

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