Sunday, April 22, 2018

Boat Ride on The Tchefuncte, Courtesy Google Street View

For those of us familiar with the "Street View" functionality of Google Maps, it can be entertaining to go to Google Maps, click on the little yellow figure in the bottom right, and then drag it onto the map and watch the blue lines appear on the map. Those blue lines represent streets and highways that the Google Street View automobile has driven down, taking 360 degree pictures showing both sides of the street (and the sky). 

By moving the yellow figure (whose name is "Pegman") to a place on one of those blue lines and letting go of the mouse button, the view changes from an overhead map to a street-level view of that location. The green circle underneath Pegman needs to be on the blue line when you release the button, otherwise Pegman may scoot back to his lower right corner, and you have to click on him again. But once you center the green circle that travels under him directly on top of a blue line, he drops down and Street View pops up. It's a good way to visit places you've never been before, or check out your house the way it looked back on the day the Google car drove by and took pictures. 

River Ride

But there is more to Google Street View, and nowhere is this more evident than at the mouth of the Tchefuncte River. When you go to the Google Maps view of the Tchefuncte River at Madisonville, and then click on and drag the yellow figure in the bottom right onto the map itself, the blue lines appear not only on the streets, but also in the middle of the river. This means that someone set the 360 degree camera up on a boat and cruised up and down the river, showing us pictures of the riverside views. So this could be called "Boat View" or "Shore View."

  The dotted blue line that represents the boat's path goes up to T-Rivers Bar, goes past the boat launch and rounds the lighthouse point, then heads east towards Lewisburg. Just click on the yellow figure, drag it to the dotted blue line in the river and release. Don't forget the suntan lotion. 

Sometimes appearing in the picture are the three guys in the boat, but the Google Street View stitching algorithm doesn't do them any favors. Their faces are often spliced together in weird ways, but the outlying scenery is spliced together rather well. The upper light housing on the lighthouse is rendered out-of-focus for some reason, probably an artifact of the same Google computer code that fuzzes out license plates on cars and people's faces who are standing on the sidewalks looking at the Google car go by. 

Anyway, enjoy taking a boat ride up and down the Tchefuncte River via Google Street View. No life preserver required. Just click on the link below to bring up the Madisonville boat launch on Google Maps, click and hold on the little yellow figure in the corner, and drag him to the dotted blue line in the river and let the mouse button go. 

You can often go backwards and forwards by clicking on the image in the direction you want to go. That doesn't always work, however. If not, just go back to the aerial view by clicking on the back arrow at the top left of the window and re-clicking on Pegman and drag his green circle onto the blue line where you want to go next. 

The boat ride pictures were taken three years ago, in April of 2015, so there are some structures pictured that aren't there any longer, thanks to hurricanes. 

Here are some links:

Click here to go to the aerial view of the Tchefuncte River boat launch. 

Click here for Street View help.

Google Street View also has a hiking trail component where backpackers have hiked some of the more popular National Park trails and taken a Google Street View camera with them. For a sample of that adventure, CLICK HERE for a map that shows the El Capitan trail at Yosemite National Park in California.  

Sometimes little blue dots will show up in the same area as the blue lines. Those blue dots represent "Photo-Spheres," panoramic pictures which use a 360 degree camera at a one-spot location. Those are interesting, but they do not represent a path to follow.