Google Maps are good, startlingly good. However did anyone get from A to B without one!. I can barely get from home to work without a quick check of Maps every morning. Even more impressive is the Street View feature in Maps, where we can actually navigate up and down a chosen street in and see what it looks like from the safety of our living room. Its always noticeable how fantastic steps forward in technology so quickly become assimilated into our daily lives. The digital technologies of today seem to shower innovations and new ways to enjoy experiences virtually almost without time to catch our breath. But soon after releasing a new technological wonder we all seem to take these new experiences for granted and what’s more we seem to be irritated by any limitations therein very quickly instead of continuing to celebrate the innovation as an amazing step forward. How soon before Google Glass becomes passé ? And its not even out yet !
Its this high expectation which we have become attuned to that now leads us to expect street view to be able to show us everything, everywhere whether in Crewe or Calcutta, Bradford or Bordeaux and with just a few lazy clicks of the mouse. Some may gripe about the odd glitch here and there as a computer struggles to keep pace with the demands of the feature but in most cases …well, its fantastic. .
Now street view has gone one step further (pun intended). You can “walk” up and down, in a virtual manner, the famous and tantalizing Diagon Alley of Harry Potter books fame. Yes, step along to visit the Leaky Cauldron pub or the wand shop where Harry finds his perfect …er magic stick. So what this amounts to is a virtual tour of a virtual world. But it’s a demonstration of the power of street maps because the set where this street exists as a physical reality is in fact in the Warner Brothers Studios in Hertfordshire. It’s a tourist attraction to hundreds of thousands if not millions of potential visitors. The shops are crammed with objects (20 thousand of them) and help bring the reality of the unreality of the virtual world into reality on your laptop….if you see what I mean.
Either way its now possible using Google Maps to tour the street without having to go there. Not the real thing of course (ahem…) but nevertheless a great trip for the armchair enthusiasts among us. Type into Google Maps “Diagon Alley”, hit the link on the left hand side and you’re in! (Alternatively click the link to Google maps here!). See you there, unless you are wearing an invisibility cloak of course.