Civics: Google’s Street View Cameras – More Than Meets the Eye


Lasers, gyroscopes, accelerometers…

Last month I looked at the history of the Street View camera, from the early versions in 2007, to the drastically improved cameras Google now uses.

Many of you followed up, asking me about the lasers I mentioned fleetingly in that post.

Well, here’s more about the lasers, and the many other sensors that make up the Google Street View Camera rigs.


Street View imagery must be associated with accurate positioning.

Each camera is equipped with a combined DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) / IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) system from Topcon, together with a wheel mounted odometer that, in conjunction with the IMU (accelerometers and gyroscopes), can help establish a position where GPS coverage is poor or has been lost in tunnels or within high-rise urban areas.