In April 11 IssueBy Derek AaronRussell County News Editor
Now you can take a trip down U.S. 127 without ever having to step foot inside your vehicle thanks to Google Street View, which mapped the roadway and the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway through Russell County sometime last year.
Google Street View is a remotely new feature of both Google Maps and Google Earth that allows many streets in the world to be viewed 360° horizontal and 290° vertical through panoramic views along the roadway just as you would if you were standing on the street.
When traveling down U.S. 127 using street view, one can see the image captured at the site of the new auditorium/natatorium on the campus of Russell County High School in Russell Springs.
When the image was captured, initial work was just beginning on the building as shown by the large steel beams which are showing.
Continuing on one can sightsee through Jamestown on the way toward Lake Cumberland, and more specifically, Wolf Creek Dam.
The street view goes over the dam and one is able to see the grouting process underway and the machinery on the leaking dam.
Google began the street view service in mid-2007 and has gradually expanded for two years to include more U.S. cities and out into some rural areas, like Russell County.
According to the giant search engine, street view shows photos taken from Google-owned Chevrolet Cobalts in United States being driven by contracted drivers, not actual Google employees.
Once you’ve reached maps.google.com and searched Russell County, you can then view the street view images after zooming in beyond the highest zooming level in maps and satellite images, and also by dragging what Google calls a “pegman”to some position on the roadway.
Using your keyboard or mouse the horizontal and vertical viewing direction and the zoom level can be selected, according to Google.
A straight or broken line in the photo shows the approximate path followed by the camera car; two arrows link to the next photo in each direction, according to the search engine.
The new feature hasn’t been welcomed by everyone with open arms.
Privacy has been an issue with the new street view program. Google said they began blurring faces of those caught on the cameras almost a year ago.
The search engine giant also postponed its release of street views of the Baltimore and Washington D.C. Metro areas after the United States Department of Homeland Security said some of the images captured might pose a security risk to the country.
Some of the equipment used on the Wolf Creek Dam rehabilitation project was also blurred out, possibly for the same reason and it being a federally-ran dam.
The U.S. Pentagon has barred Google from publishing its street view photos of military bases and has asked Google to remove existing content of bases to which Google agreed.
Also, according to online reports on the matter, several parents in this country and in other have expressed concern over Google Street View compromising the security of their children.
But the popularity of the Google application is at an all-time high and continues to grow.
Google says there are huge benefits from the street view feature, ranging from the promotion of tourism, to helping people find local businesses or meeting points, assisting property buyers and sellers.