VirtualCity Toronto – a cool combo of Google Maps and street level photos

I really liked A9’s Block Level street photos that let you see what the central areas of various cities were like, and we actually used them a few times to see what our hotels were going to be like at conferences, and I was sad when the services was discontinued. Not much has been going on with Microsoft’s Windows Live Local Street-Side photo service recently either.

That being said, I ran across a really cool Canadian site called Virtual City, which combines Google Maps with a photo interface like A9’s Block Level photos above the map window. The beta showcases maps and street-level photos for Toronto, Canada. There are 2 rows of photos, for each side of the street it appears, and clickbars at either end of the photo rows to allow you move along the street. As you do, the pointer on the Google Maps interface moves with you. According to the VirtualCity website, 4 million photos were taken in Toronto to assemble the street-level photo tours. Another 3 million were taken of Montreal (although there don’t seem to be as many streets in Montreal that are mapped) The company plans to expand sometime soon to photograph select cities in the US.

All I can say is, the site navigated pretty smoothly for me, and I burned about a half hour just moving around the map and looking at the photos. I really like being able to get a glimpse of a place before I travel there, and I would actually use VirtualCity if it included cities that I was traveling to.

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