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Google street maps now ogle Naples, Fort Myers
Area streets can now be virtually walked
8:36 p.m., Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Google Maps street view of the Naples Daily News. Screen Capture of Google Maps
Now you can drive down Naples streets without leaving home.

Google Maps Street View went live Wednesday for the Naples-Fort Myers area.

The street views get an immediate response from users. Some hail this as a hyper-local idea, while others gasp at the invasion of privacy.

“I’m actually a technical guy. I think it’s really cool that you can map out your destination and see the landmarks you’ll pass along the way,” said Ken Stephens of Naples. “I’m a proponent of it.”

An entire town northwest of St. Paul was an opponent.

Residents of North Oak, Minn., asked to be removed from Google’s street view maps. Because the city’s roads are all private roads, they were successful in getting Google to take off the street view images.

The new feature has practical applications, though, Stephens said.

“Let’s say I have a street address but it’s in the middle of an industrial park,” he said. “I can call this up on my iPhone and look at the actual location.”

Street View improves navigation tools by letting users see more than an aerial view of an address. The map program uses street-level shots in a drive-by application.

“I may not see the sign, but I’ll recognize the landmark,” Stephens said. “It has helped me know this is the way to go.”

To use the new feature, go to Google Maps, search for an address, click on “Street View” on the map location identifier balloon.

According to Google’s Web site, it is continuing to expand the concept to various places around the country.

In Florida, some of the other cities where it is available are Orlando and Miami.

Elsewhere in the country, some of the cities where it is available include Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York.

According to Google’s Web site, here’s how it works:

At the Google maps site, if street views are available, a “Street View” button appears. If you click on that, you will see roads with available street views that appear with a blue border.

Zoom in until you can see individual streets on the map.

A humanlike icon appears on the map, and if you click on the icon you can view a street view for this location or click any street that has a blue border.

You also can rotate the view on the street. To navigate along a street, use the white directional arrows overlaid on the street or use the arrow keys.

Full directions for viewing street scenes are available on the Google street map site.
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