Saturday, February 10, 2018

Google Street View highlights Pyeongchang area imagery (and greatly expanded Korean street view imagery generally)

Google is promoting their Street View imagery of the Pyeongchang area and key locations for the Olympics events. They've released a special highlights gallery of sites around the Gangwondo area that you can browse in full 360° glory.

Gangwondo Highlights gallery on Google Street View

Browse the imagery here:
🔗Google Street View – Gangwondo Highlights | Explore natural wonders and world landmarks

This follows their previous highlights of Seoul and Jeju. This imagery can be a nice way for travelers unfamiliar with Naver Map or Kakao Map to get an idea of where they're going or where to go.

But what really caught my eye here was just how massively expanded the Google Street View imagery in Korea is now. Google's blog post shows a few blue lines of spots covered by street view, but actually, the entire area is blanketed in imagery coverage.

For example, here are the areas around the Olympic Stadium and Athletes' Village:

Google Street View availability around Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. [screenshot]

Google Street View availability around Pyeongchang Athletes Village. [screenshot]

Essentially every road is blanketed. And remember, this is a pretty rural area. By the way, someone left a Google review with photos of the Athletes Village. If the name is right, he's a Russian hockey player named Nikita Borisov. Thought they were dopped out of this year but who knows.

How about over in Gangneung where most of the events are actually being held?

Google Street View availability around Gangneung. [screenshot]

Blanketed. OK, I just had to check then. How about Seoul?

Google Street View availability around Seoul. [screenshot]

Wow. The last time I tried using Google Street View in Korea, it was literally just pockets of coverage. Seoul had maybe 70% coverage, but outside the capital area you saw glowing islands of coverage only in certain touristy or promotional areas. It seems Google has quietly expanded their coverage on a large scale. You can still see some non-covered areas there, mostly mountains and airport. If you look at where I left pegman dangling, someone contributed their own panorama of the interior of Gimpo airport.

I tended to use Daum Maps Roadview in the past (it was easier, and I liked their 'pegman' icon of the little white camera) and now still use Kakao Map. But it could be worth revisiting Google's coverage. They even apparently drove by my place several months back.

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