Until now, I've almost exclusively associated hyperbolic fish-eye visuals with the stuff of machine elves and shitty skateboarding videos. But no longer – I'll be damned if a new hack on Google Maps isn't already letting me ride out this balmy Friday in relative projected complacency.
Streetview Stereographic spins Google Street View data into beautiful, bulbous stereographic images. It’s probably the easiest, trippiest time-suck this side of 2012, offering fresh inversions of drab, oppressive urban milieus. Simply enter an address or coordinate set and suddenly geometry ain’t so bad and you’re living life in the proverbial fish bowl, to boot. And what’s great is the program allows users to manipulate their desired locations: Click and hold on the left panel (pro tip: maximize to full screen) and wrap pavement patches into microcosmoses or flip street views outward into “swirling vortexes of urban fabric.” The possibilities are seemingly infinite.
If I can wage one complaint against the spate of attention showered on this hack over the past few days is that both the original fish-eye spins I’ve seen – and the program’s default projections (when I fired up Streetview Stereographic moments ago, up popped Zuccotti Park, epicenter of the Occupy movement) – have thus far been too busy, too cluttered. This can kill the stereographic effect. If anything, clean, simple locations and facades – monoliths, say – actually maximize the effect. In this case, less truly is more.
Also, the hack is finicky. With a few exceptions, it doesn’t yet seem to allow for locations that are even remotely off the beaten path. This means no Devils Tower or Ayers Rock or most any other awe-inspiring natural monoliths. Bust.
But hey, don’t get me wrong. Without question I’ll be fiddling around with this thing a whole lot more. Below are a few manmade monoliths, spires and towers that I’ve managed to dig up and contort. Some are painfully obvious. Others (maybe?) aren’t. Hit the replies if you recognize any. I’ve provided cities to help you narrow things down.
Your day just ended.
Reach this writer at email@example.com. @TheBAnderson