Google Earth Street View Tour Generator

Google Taiwan announced in March this year (2016) , they finished the most tough task to extent street view coverage to Yushan – the highest mountain(altitude 3952 meter) in Taiwan. As long as you move your finger, follow the arrow on ground to forward, backward, or move the rotary motion picture, etc. You will be able to enjoy the beauty of Yushan, but most likely you’ll slide lost in wild, so I should like to make further automated street view tour for the entire route . Now it seems, Google Earth’s Tour feature is an excellent platform for navigation, Yes! it is possible to record directly with the Tour in Google Earth, but the process is quite difficult, and very prone to failure, so it had to use another way that you can edit to record the street view couse, I call it “street view route”. I spent a lot of effort to edit a street view route from Paiyun Lodge to Peak. Then through the “Street View Tour Generator”, convert to “Google Earth Street View Tour”. Above youtube is the final outcome.

This article is to share this “StreetView Tour Generator”, although Google Earth is very easy to use, but to make this “Street View Tour” still have to take the time and patience, those who are interested, please read on it…

First, of course, the street view tour is based on Google Street View. That means the route is coveraged by Google street view, and then user establish their own “street view route”, the “route” refers on Google Earth by a series of “photo” feature to establish “without photo just take a snapshot view” PhotoOverlay KML file. My “Google Earth Street View Generator” will convert each “snapshot view” to StreetView Tour KML file. So we can play the “Google Earth Street View Tour” according to the planned route.

Google Earth Tour” is constituted by a series of “SnapShot View” and “flyto duration”, this “SnapShot View” can be used to represent the two elements: <LookAt> and <Camera>. <LookAt> and <Camera> are similar , since both elements define the placement and orientation of a virtual camera that is viewing the Earth. The difference is that, LookAt depending on the viewing points of interest to a specific view. In contrast, Camera view will be specified based on the position and direction of the observer. The biggest difference is LookAt can only look down (Tilt not be large then 90), that is, it can not see the sky, but a street view is to provide 360 ° horizontal and 180 ° vertical panoramic view, and in the most commonly used “Placemark” is mostly <LookAt> element to define its “snapshot view”, so I can only use “Photo” feature to build what I call a “street view route”. This is because Google Earth’s various feature(Placemark, ScreenOverlay, GroundOverlay, PhotoOverlay, Folder, Document, NetworkLink)), only “photo”use <Camera> feature to define “SnapShot View”.

There are four main carrier of Google street view: street view car, trike, trolley, and trekker. Street View vehicle drive on the road, most of the route are straight. The distance of two connected Street View is approximately 10 to 15 meters, the latter three are used in small alleys, indoor, local trails, etc., there are many turns. The distance between two Street View is about six meters below. So in “street view route “, I divide the four kinds into two categories, You can only establish a “photo” in the turning point of intersection on the road, and the other three have to build every street view “photo” along the route. This “street view tour generator” will calculate the distance of each “street view” to determine the “route” is taken from what kind of carrier.

In principle, I make the flyto time to next street view with the 1 second setting, It seemed to work accetably. So each route can not be too long, such as the distance in the road, almost 600 meters take about a minute, the route length within 5 km is tolerable, when in the trail, it’s about 3 meters between 2 “street view”, approximately 1 minute to go 180 meters, if more than two kilometers of trails have to consider devide into several segment.

I use the following two examples to illustrate in detail the process of establishing “street view route” operation, the first case is “Ketagalan Boulevard street view tour” on the west side of Taipei , this is the easiest single route; the second case is “Xiangshan trail street view tour” on the east side of Taipei, near Taipei 101, with 5 routes:

1.Ketagalan Boulevard street view tour

First, let us look at a one half minute youtube of “Ketagalan Boulevard Street View tour”. The Screen fly from Taipei 101 in the air, to the west to west side of Jingfu Gate, then enter Street View mode, clockwise around , and then go forward Ketagalan Boulevard, to Park Road, visit the Taipei Guest House for a moment, then turn left continue to the Presidential Palace , in front of the Presidential Palace, then counterclockwise around, the last screen is the Presidential Palace.

Then please download the Ketagalan Boulevard Street View route KML file and open in Google Earth, you should see in the “Ketagalan Boulevard” folder has 10 “photo” feature, please double-click on each , compared to the Youtube above, you should be able to understand, the first four “photo” are four “snapshot view” in the air, the next “@01″ is enter the west side of Jingfu Gate, and around, then”02” is pre “photo” before Park Road cross, “^^03” is the view of the Taipei Guest House at Park Street cross. “^03-1” is the same “photo” as “^^03” but different view of “the Presidential Palace”, “04” locate at Huaining Street cross, and finally “@-05” is the “photo” in front of “the Presidential Palace” and counterclockwise around.

The movement of Google Earth Tour is not constant, but an acceleration, constant speed, and deceleration process, if the direction of movement no changes, may not feel, if there are changes in the direction of the angle (greater than 30 degrees), which will move is no longer a straight line but will become curve, that the routes is no longer through the center line of the street, which would distort the street view. Two adjacent Street View due to a short distance, no problem, but if it is a street blocks ,you will see the distort, that is why I have to add a “^02” before “^03”, and pause, because “^02” and “@01” are in the same direction, it will not curve move, so when you want to turn, you need to add one “photo” before the turn.

2.Xiangshan trail street view tour

Taipei 101 locate at the eastern side of Taipei City. Not too far, about 1 Km off, there is “Xiangshan Trail”, it is the Popular attractions to see Taipei 101 New Year’s Eve fireworks. Just the whole trail coveraged with Google Street View, so I used this trail as another case. I recorded the screen as Youtube below(chinese version), According to the order of five tour of the left field, first fly from southern Taipei to Taipei 101, and then go into the Xinyi Road street view , after a few turns, arrived the trail entrance, then began to walk up the hill. It’s about 600 meters to the top of the hill, but I divide it into four sections. At beginning of each section it will display the information of topic, subtitle, route distance, the total length of the tour.

Then please also download the “Xiangshan Trail street view route” KML file and open in Google Earth, under “Xiangshan Trail” folder have five folder, each folder represents a route, the first “Taipei 101- Trail entrance”, I’m planning to fly in the air and the street view from Taipei 101 to trail entrance. There are 5 “photo” (“f000” to “f004”), it’s view point in the air, then from the “@ 00” to the last “^ 38” represents the turning point in each of the vehicle route. The second folder and third folder are “Entrance – Viewing platform” section , but between the “59” and “62” “photo”, I can’t connect them, so it have to split into two segment.

From the above two examples, all operating method to create a “street view route” are in it, then I aggregate, strips as follows:
(1) First, build a “Folder”, give a topic name (as in the first case), if desired segment, then create the folder under the theme folder, the segment folder name is “subtitle” (such as the second case).
(2) under each folder, respectively, sequentially establish the “photo” feature of “just snapshot view without a photo”.
(3) If you want to fly before entering street view mode (non-essential), the default fly time is 15 seconds, max fly time is 120 seconds, so you can fly according to individual need to create multiple view points and to introduce spatial position, the fly time will be equally distributed to each flight segment.You can also set only flight, it need not be set into the ground.
(4) After entering the street view mode, decided on each “snapshot view”, add “photo”, and in the New Photo Overlay window, you can edit any in the Name field , but the first word is “Keyword”, there are two “keyword” to determine the trend of street navigation.

  • “@” Indicates clockwise around the circle, 15 seconds, if counterclockwise, then add “-” after “@” into “@-“
  • “^” Indicates 0.5 second pause at that point, “^^” is 1 seconds, “^^^” is 2 seconds, “^^^^” is 3 seconds,no more
  • (5) in the streets, if you want to create one “photo” at the next intersection, then you can press “Exit Street View” on the upper right corner , and then pull the Pegman to the next intersection, to shorten the time to build.
    (6) when rotating direction, just rotate the view angle at the same point and create a new “photo”, the system will automatically calculate the rotation angle proportion (15 seconds a round) to set rotation time, the system will rotate in the direction of less than 180 degrees of rotation, so if the angle is greater than 180 degrees, please devide into two segment.
    (7) If you can’t move to next street view, that means the connection of street view is bloken, you have to exit street view mode, and pull the pegman to enter into next street view, but if you can’t connect the two street view no matter how you try, that means you have to create another route.
    (8) when all route are built, you can save it.

    After you have completed the “street view route” by above rules , you can upload the “street view route” KML file in the following window, press “Create”, the system will immediately generate the “Street View Tour” KML file.

    After you press the “Create”, if no problem happen it should have downloaded “street view Tour” KML file, you can open it in Google Earth, double-click to play any tour. You can zoom in/out to see whether the line as you planned, it may be a lot of problems at beginning, you can edit it, and then create the tour again. It may be a much trial several times at beginning, on the one hand be familiar with editing rules, on the other hand can also be more familiar with this route, you will get better results after the repeat process. The “Street View Generator” is just in my own idea, but still have to pass the test, so I hope interested enthusiasts pay more tests, if it is convenient you can leave your comments to me. Help me to improve the generator be better!

    Further, in addition to the above two cases, there are five different type “street view route” KML file for your reference, one for mountain trail, one for street, one for river, one for inside, and the last is fly only.
    yushan(Paiyun Lodge to Peak)
    Champs-Élysées, Paris
    El sena river, Paris(fly time 30 seconds)
    Versailles Palace inside, France
    Flyto New York(fly time 90 seconds)

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    2 Responses to Google Earth Street View Tour Generator

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