PANAMA CITYBEACH — Bay County’s streets went “live” Dec. 9.
That’s the day Google Maps Street View, a program providing panoramic, street-level images from cities around the world, added Panama City and much of the surrounding Panhandle. Browsers on Google Maps now are able to take a virtual walk of Bay County streets — and the homes and businesses lining them. The images appear to have been gathered several months to a year before they were added to the map function.
“Locally, people usually have fun kind of poking around and making it sort of a detective game looking for movie theaters to see what was playing and things like that to see exactly when it was,” said Google spokeswoman Elaine Filadelfo.
This is cool. To see our Panama City Beach Condo building enter 17757 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, FL in the address box.
Ever since Google Street View was unveiled in 2007, the effort has raised some privacy concerns and spawned a minor Internet phenomenon of Street View users scouring cities for frozen non sequiturs. Although the initial images of Bay County were obtained using older and fuzzier cameras, Filadelfo said efforts already have begun in larger cities to scan using higher-resolution devices.
“If people are concerned about privacy or anything like that in every single image in Street View, at the bottom is a link that says ‘report a concern.’ That will take them to a form where they can … let us know an image they would like removed, and we would happy to do that,” she said.
Street View images are gathered only from public roads, Filadelfo said. But other areas of concern also can be omitted. The stretch of Thomas Drive in front of Naval Support Activity-Panama City, in addition to a large portion of U.S. 98 through Tyndall Air Force Base, has been omitted.
“When you’re passing by those areas, we do try to be careful and err on the side of caution,” she said.
Have fun looking around Panama City Beach!