Teleport Anywhere with Google Maps Street View

Adam DuVander
Nov. 05 2010, 12:00AM EDT

Getting on a plane and actually traveling somewhere is so old fashioned. Teleporting is the future. But since we haven't worked out all the kinks of physically moving our atoms from place to place, for now we have the Google Maps API and it's Street View feature.

The Globe Genie website brings the future to you in a click. Just select the continents you want to consider for your virtual vacation and click "teleport." Perhaps you're in the Northern Hemisphere and things are cooling down. Choose Australia, Africa and South America. Poof, you're there.

As much as Google would like it to be the case, much of the earth is not Street View-able. So, how does Globe Genie know which points it can choose? The short answer: it doesn't. Thanks to the getNearestPanorama function from the Google Maps API, Globe Genie just needs to know which points on earth belong to which continents. To find a new place to teleport, it generates a random latitude and longitude. Then, once it confirms the point is within the chosen continents, it asks the API for the nearest Street View location.

Incidentally, that's why you'll find that some locations come up more often than others, especially when you're restricting continents with few Street View options. But that doesn't make it any less fun to teleport about.

The site was made by Joseph G. McMichael, an Engineering graduate student at MIT. He has even received a write-up in the Guardian.

via @googlemaps

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.