Google Street View 'Depth Data' Video Is What Maps 'Really' Sees

This Is What Google Maps Really Sees

Google Street View isn't just a collection of images stitched together willy-nilly. It's also a massive repository of depth data, telling the search giant where the streets lead and roads begin and end, in order to help it build a navigable 3D map.

'Point Cloud City' by Patricio Gonzalez Vivo is a video based on that exact data. By analysing Google Map itself, Vivo was able to extract the depth information and rebuild Street View without the photos.

What's left is a beautiful and haunting impression of our cities - almost familiar, but digitised and computerised like an echo of the Matrix.

(Skip ahead to about a minute into the video to get to the good stuff).

You can check out the making of the video here. Even better, someone has reportedly built a version for the (now Facebook-owned) Oculus Rift VR headset, so you can walk 'inside' this ghost city.

Before You Go