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Google Street View Hyperlapses [video] (thisiscolossal.com)
461 points by cmsj on Apr 11, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 67 comments

Amazingly cool, what a great "hack" usage of Google Street View. Incredibly creative!

It occurs to me... I would love to be able to watch cross-country trips like this. Take me from New York to San Fran in 10 minutes, maybe skipping over over the really boring monotonous parts? Take me an a tour through Europe! Could be an amazing tool to give people a real physical sense of distance between places.

>maybe skipping over over the really boring monotonous parts?

You mean the entire Midwest?

Get off the interstate and notice the details. Lots of beautiful.

My father is a... "maphead"; he spends considerable time exploring territory via resources before (and after) he actually gets there.

As a result, he'll often know of "parallel" routes -- or sometimes, routes that are actually more direct than the Interstate. In exchange perhaps for a bit of time and a few stops signs, lights, and towns, he'll take a route that is ten times as scenic.

If you've never seen Iowa in the fall in afternoon sunlight, you don't know what you're missing.

Or winter, for that matter, with the whites, browns, and infinite blue sky. Spring, with the new growth dusting black soil with green. Summer in its extravagance of growth.

Sit down at the counter of a local diner, next to a farmer. You may not agree with all his opinions, but you'll find someone at least as informed and mindful of the news as any urbanite you're likely to meet.

Small town life can sometimes be stifling, socially. And in the midwest, it's been significantly hollowed out particularly of youth, by ongoing socio-economic changes.

But if you're looking, and if you're not -- socially -- stuck there indefinitely, it's not necessarily "boring".

as someone who traveled a lot by parallel smaller roads recently, i can tell you, the worst problem is that those roads are one or two lanes, full of huge trucks going on at crazy speeds, and often passing each other (even on the one lanes)

I think that is something that has changed. More trucks, and more truck drivers who drive like they're driving a car.

Thank you for this, it reinforces my desire to pack everything into storage and fall forward into the eternal road trip. What an amazing country.

You and Garrison Keillor may disagree, but I can assure you, it's boring.

Actually, I find too much Keillor boring... ;-)

To each his/her own. :-)

I'm also someone who simply enjoys driving. For me, it can become almost meditative.

Being from the midwest, I agree :)

Midwest is where its at

The only boring parts are the parts below Michigan/Chicago, particularly Indiana... it's basically one giant field.

I really enjoyed my time with my ex-partner in rural Indiana. Perhaps because it's just so different to anything we have here in Britain.

Cities are largely the same wherever you go - London, Chicago, Sydney - they are all big towers, shops, bars, metro, money flowing around, and so on. It's when you get out into the country that you get a real flavour of a place.

You're right: upper Indiana is boring.

Now, try southern Indiana, around Nashville and Bloomington. It's like a small slice of California, with the rolling hills, pine trees, scenic routes, huge lakes, and awesome liberal atmosphere (home of IU).

I'm so glad I'm here, and not elsewhere in Indiana.

Going east and west across North Dakota is pretty damn boring.

That sort of movie was pretty popular in the early days of film: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_ride

Here's timelapse of a Florida-to-California helicopter flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gz-e0dSwjnA

Something I made and open sourced 10 days ago. Quite similar to this, except, very few on HN bothered to take a look.


Cool app, but I can see why it didn't grab peoples attention.

It's not very clear what to do when you land on the page and there's nothing to explain what it does. I wasn't sure what I had to put in for the start and end location. Is just a city name ok? or does it need a full address?

I'd suggest having an example location already selected. That way instead of asking the user to do something they can simply click the play button and immediately see what the app does.

You've got a nice interface there. Needs something to facilitate picking endpoints & paths with Street View data, else it gets frustrating fast. That is in competition with this thread, which features a nicely-chosen video sequence which includes non-automated focus on scenery features (like contrails).

Seems another idea's time has come.

Don't take it personally. Getting noticed on the New page is largely luck of the draw nowadays.

Interesting utility, and kudos for making it OSS! Something I couldn't help but notice is that it is very similar to a short film which played at TIFF 2011 called "Coorow-Latham Road" by Blake Williams, a 20 minute video work which played in the Wavelengths experimental section of the festival.

A short clip of the video is available here: http://vimeo.com/26850823

Amusingly, the artist has created another version of the video, now that hyperlapse is available: https://vimeo.com/63778677

The original film, Coorow-Latham Road, is edited and manipulated from screenshots of a Google street view road trip along the length of a road in rural Australia. The camera rotates 180 degrees from forward to backward along the 20 minute trip.

This may be a case where art inspires software, which is an interesting phenomenon in itself, or maybe it's a freak coincidence!

I didn't notice at first, but you can move the target in the map in the top-right corner to change the viewpoint as you travel. I originally assumed it was hardcoded.

Same here :)

Never thought a cheesy robot doll could make me cry


From the tool creators the write up: http://www.teehanlax.com/labs/hyperlapse/

Did anyone else here actually create their own? When it attempted playback, my system froze, had to force a restart which led to a looping kernel panic-reset. Powered off completely to fix it.

Could have been a coincidence/indicative of a system issue, but not game to try it again!

Welcome to WebGL…

Worked for me in Mac chrome, but I did see others complaining about it killing chrome.

This thing is seriously cool. I really think using this kind of technology based on Street view or similar data sets could really create some very cool in browser games, maybe even with some social elements. Anyone up for the challenge?

Very nice. Made a custom hyperlapse, but it's like driving around at 1000mph...

We had to lock down the settings on the site to make it as light as possible. Consequently, you're limited to 75 frames. It's basically built for very short routes spinning around objects. If you want to do long routes or crazy camera movements, grab the source (https://github.com/TeehanLax/Hyperlapse.js) and roll your own solution. The API is really simple and versatile.

Thanks for creating Hyperlapse - it's awesome and is something I've been looking for! How is it possible to have multiple lookat point along a hyperlapse? Or would I have to stack multiple hyperlapses together to first look at this one point, then at the next point?

You could play around with the Three.js camera object. We made a separate viewer for the video team that had more complicated camera controls (and higher max frame + zoom level).

... and you wouldn't release that separate viewer, would you? I'm planing on using a hyperlapse for a recent roadtrip through the US, including photos. I also want to create a video from the hyperlapse and add the photos via AfterEffects.

You get the idea with the dat.gui strapped example from the repo: http://tllabs.io/hyperlapse/examples/viewer.html

Thanks, it does look better for short distances, but still seems very fast! Seems to be around 3 seconds for the 75 frames, I think I'd like to see it half that speed or less.

I should add, that's a maximum of 75 frames. We check if there are duplicate pano's on the same route and stagger them depending on distance, so you could get fewer frames. It's set to 50ms a frame atm.

Ah that'll be the problem I was having, some areas don't have a high enough frequency of images available to make a good hyperlapse.

It's very hit or miss. We've been calling good one's 'finds' because they're fairly rare.

It'd be neat if there was a way for people to highlight their 'finds'. You could then have a randomizer option similar to www.mapcrunch.com

Pretty neat. I can imagine this syncing with gps navigation and providing street previews for drivers.

The google maps navigation already does that, albeit only when you are closing in the target. But still very useful when looking for a restaurant or a company.

I'm aware they show a snapshot of the destination upon arrival, but I'm not aware of any kind of functionality to see video street previews through the upcoming street(s) during any point in the route.

That requires the driver to manually shift around an area though. Something that automatically hyperlapses through the whole next street or so would be neater.

I kept expecting the music to morph into Star Guitar (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S43IwBF0uM)

F-yeah, Star Guitar! This is one of my all time favorite music videos. Once you figure out what is going on it's such a fun and amazing, "Ah ha!" moment and then it really keeps delivering throughout the whole video.

Also interesting is the making of Star Guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF0-wGbRqEs

Do you know or does anyone know what the music of the video is?

I call this "Google Street View Motion Sickness"

I call this "Daily Dose of Sheer Raging Awesomeness".

their interface crashed my mac hard. using chrome. save everything before trying this out.

Similarly. Chrome 26.0.1410.65 on OS X 10.8.2. Not so much a crash as a lockup -- no mouse movement, except for a single frame update about 45 seconds in.

I assume it's a WebGL problem. My logs are spammed with "kernel[0]: NVDA(OpenGL): Channel exception! exception type = 0xd = GR: SW Notify Error" and "UserEventAgent[235]: Could not get event name for stream/token: com.apple.time/1882: 0x3: No such process"

Looks pretty cool, but the embedded video keeps breaking after 2 seconds of play.

How do I export it to a video?! So so good - T&L on fire lately.

Bet you could autogenerate simulator rides from this pretty awesomely...


Can I get confirmation that the small segment starting at 1.49 is somewhere in Australia? Probably northern WA, NT or FNQ?

The 2011 video I referenced in my other comment was taken along Coorow-Latham road, in WA, with the same camera motions... Perhaps this one was also taken there?

Yep that's Australia, this is the road: http://goo.gl/maps/PtJyL

Here's the shot list in order of appearance:


Florida Keys



Baja California

Golden Gate


Norway Fjords

Hong Kong Tunnel

CN Tower

Dublin Airport

South Africa Sunset




Apple Valley, California


Manhattan Bridge, NYC

New Orleans


New Zealand

Idaho, USA

Panning following the contrails is beautiful. Very creative.

Very well done!

Why not link directly to the new tool?


It's cool but I can't get a sustainable stream from Vimeo. It defeats the purpose of video streaming.

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