Google Street View for Business is something we offer to customers, and it is the same idea as Google Street View where you can search streets on Google maps with a 360 degree view. But businesses can actually have a 360 degree viewpoint inside a business- you go through the doors and look inside!
This blog post is about the technical process of completing the Street View we did for Stockport Town Hall. You can see the tour here:
Street View was something we became certified by Google to offer back in November 2015 after a few months of training and test shoots. Google checks the quality of the first tours you do and if you pass their quality criteria (which is incredibly high) you then get certified. Hard work for us, but reassuring for customers if they are using someone certified.
Photographing the tour at Stockport Town Hall took about five hours. It involves using the Canon 5D camera that I use for some video and photography. It is attached to a special head on a camera tripod and fitted with a fisheye lens. This photo shows how it looks when I was doing a Street View for an opticians.
Apart from following the Google rule book, a big battle when doing the tours is making sure firstly the rooms you are photographing are well presented (so no piles of furniture, no personal details anywhere), secondly nothing is moved as you do the tour such as chairs, otherwise they will mysteriously ‘jump’ around a room when the tour is completed. The hardest thing is ideally you should not feature any people. This is really difficult in a building as busy as the town hall.
With the help of town hall staff the street view tour was photographed out of order. First the Council chambers were completed (the chambers were then filled with tables and chairs from the committee rooms so they look clean and tidy). Whilst the furniture was moved I did the ballroom, followed by the chamber and committee room corridor, then committee rooms, the marble staircase, and finally the foyer and outside on the street. Every door you go through has to be opened with door stops (another Google rule).
Once all the photographs are taken I edit the photos. This is quite a complicated process having to remember all the different rooms and editing the journey as you walk round the town hall.
During the editing process all faces and number plates must be blurred, hence when you look at the marble staircase pictures the faces are unidentifiable.
Once the Street View passes Googles quality checks, the tour goes live almost immediately. It appears in search results and it can be embedded on websites like the link at the top of this blog post.
Street View can be a useful tool for potential visitors to a shop, school, restaurant, and many types of business. If you want to find out anything further visit https://www.google.co.uk/maps/streetview/trusted/ or send us an email or call the office on 0161 477 5621.