Friday, June 26, 2015

New Streetview of El Capitan, and how to find Photospheres

I hope you saw the recent announcement about the newest Streetview images.  A few crazy people climbed El Capitan... WITH all of the gear for taking Photospheres (Google's 360 spherical zoomable/pannable images).  

Here's the YouTube announcement: 

I thought I'd point it out to you if you didn't see it, and show you the one weird trick you need to know to find more Photosphere and panorama images.  

If you do a search for El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, you'll find this.  

As you know, you can click on the yellow Pegman icon to highlight all of the places in the map that are "Streetview-able" -- they get highlighted in blue.  And it also shows up as a bunch of blue dots on the map.  

Pro tip:  If you're NOT zoomed in close enough, then the blue dots of Photospheres and panoramas won't show up on the map.  Give it a try, and if you don't see them, zoom in a bit and click the Pegman again. 

Once you do this, you'll be able to click on a Photosphere and share in the experience of the climb with Lynn Hill (the woman pictured below).  

It really is a great set of classic high wall images.  That you can zoom and pan around along the route of the climb is really marvelous.  Check it out!  

(Perhaps this isn't the photoshow for your acrophobic brother...)  


  1. Replies
    1. Yes is great tip and very helpful.

      QQ, While visiting Google Maps searched [Mountain View] as an example, and noticed that has a red contour mark, telling us where it begins and ends, is that new? In any case, glad that I noticed it. Is very helpful too.

    2. Hi, the red outline and pink shadow appears when you search for a country/state/city/county/local-government boundary, rather than a particular street address.

  2. Hi, two more tips -

    1. switching to terrain base map provides an impressive sense of the geography without needing to use 3D. Typing "Terrain" into Search box and selecting the entry with the mountain icon should work, but never does for me! So clear any text that may be in the Search Box, and in the 'Getting Around' pop-under box select the word 'Terrain'.

    2. The Street View coverage layer (accessed by activating peg man) displays both blue and yellow dots. The blue dots are mostly personally uploaded & shared panoramic imagery, Photospheres and the like. While the yellow dots are panoramas from Google Trusted Photographers, and tends to be indoor photography of businesses. The new El Capitan panoramas is a yellow dot, but are about as outdoors as you can get!

    Cheers, Andrew

    1. Thanks again, Andrew :) I'll search for yellow inside dots. Terrain looks beautiful

      Dr. Russell, which blue dot you clicked to get El Capitan 3 photo? I clicked on Google Maps and never got that one. I am doing something wrong. The only way was searching the news and finding this link that photo also shows See inside

      Thank you !

    2. Update: Finally found what I was doing wrong. In Dr. Russell's El Capitan 2 photo, we can only see blue dots and as Andrew shared, Lynn Hill's photo is yellow. What I did was zoom more and then there it is yellow dot.

      Great photo as always, Remmij.

    3. Yes, that's right. Not all of the Photosphere dots appear until zoom in to the right level. I'm working on a patch around this so we can find ALL of the panos, spheres, and such in a given location.

      Glad you found it!

    4. I de-zoomed… am thinking the 'yellow dot' is actually Mr. Bill's pup, at the base, near scroll up…?
      those folks have nerves of magnesium-alloy syntactic foam
      … look forward to the patch, as with climbing, the right level is occasionally elusive.

    5. Thanks, Dr. Russell

      Glad you gave us the Pro Tip. At first, thought little zoom until blue dots appears was enough, glad that tried more.

      I am looking forward to try the new patch you will share.

      Nice Sunday :)

  3. I am a subscriber to the Google Maps YouTube channel. As soon as I watched the Behind the Scenes video, I rushed to Google Maps. I confess I was a bit disappointed in spite of the amazing photos. I was thinking of Street View, that is, several photos connected in such a manner so that you could virtually climb El Capitán. I watched the "Behind the Scenes" video before the main video because it was published first. The full title is "Behind the Scenes: Street View 3,000 feet up El Capitan" and it's a bit misleading. I had to rewire my brain to truly appreciate the incredible views.

    1. After reading some of the answers here and rereading Dan Russell's post, I suspected there were indeed several official photospheres, not just the only one I saw on Google Maps (the only yellow dot I found), if not a real Street View experience. So today I decided to follow the link provided here to the "recent announcement about the newest Streetview images" on TechCrunch. On the TechCrunh article, a sentence like "Google now lets you virtually climb in Google Maps" couldn't possibly mean "there is one great picture taken on the ascent". So I followed that link. And that's when I realized I had not seen that Google Maps Treks site for El Cap yet. I had explored the Nepal experience on some time ago and that link is in fact provided on the main video announcing the El Cap virtual climb — but I missed that too.

      So now I have finally found the virtual climb! (Still not exactly a Street View, which is in fact the experience we get on Nepal, but much much closer to that than what I had found before.) I made it to the top, reading all bits of info, listening to all audio clips, watching all videos linked. I particularly like all this information on each of the photospheres. I also loved the off-the-path section in the end, especially Alex's van.

      Now everything sparkled my curiosity:
      1. How are the bolts inserted in the rock? Who did it and when?
      2. How do climbers pass the ropes through the loops that are higher than their path? Who does that and when? (In these cases, were the ropes already there, just like the bolts?)
      3. Why is Lynn Hill's partner / belayer put in second plan? Their name is never mentioned, their face never shown. What about Tommy Caldwell's belayer? (His face is shown once.) Are belayers doing easier work in fact? Don't they have to do the same path? If so, is their task much easier because the climber ahead is the one who had to reach the bolts and fix the ropes? Anyway, when they do the difficult sections after the climber, do they reverse roles (or are the ropes behind them fixed and serving as safety; and, if they stay fixed, who takes the ropes off after the climb)? If their task is as challenging as the main climbers, are they unfairly disregarded / forgotten like sherpas? Were great climbers belayers before being great?
      4. When they say that Lynn Hill did the first free solo climb of The Nose (and five people followed so far), does that mean no King Swings, no ropes at all? Or are some moves with ropes still allowed on so-called free climbs? (And, if she actually climbed it free of any ropes, did she use a different route than the one used on this climb by Alex Honnold, or just part of it?)
      5. Even if the free climbers can't use ropes at all, can they use any artificial features on the wall (like anything attached to bolts)?
      6. How are routes set? By trial and error? By previous examination from the ground or from photos? By a combination of those? How frequent are new routes being created?
      7. Who filmed the 1993 Lynn Hill's video on The Great Roof (linked from the 695 m page on Google El Cap)? In particular, who did the travelling shots at 0:20 and 0:28? Drones in 1993?! Cameramen hanging from safe ropes descended from the summit? (Video unlisted, so I won't link to it directly here.) Also, is this the free climb she did in 1993? (If it is, I see ropes there. So, again, what kind of holds are still admissible on a free climb?)
      8. Who shot these photospheres? Who carried the Trekker and other photo gear?

      Wow, so many questions! Whoever read all this about El Cap deserves a curiosity too, a Valencian special kind of tongue-twister, a battologism (or embarbussament) that reads like this: “En cap cap cap el que cap en aquest cap”. I let you fellow searchers find its meaning.

  4. Very interesting. Here's a couple of interesting sites as well.

    1. rrR - looking at your links led to this… related to this weeks challenge & street view evolutions… might be interesting to hear/read what Dan thinks about the differences between virtual and ground/water "truth", especially in the diving realm.
      The "You don't have to have cows to be a cowboy." Robert Smithson question
      Catlin twitter
      XL Catlin Seaview Survey
      on YT
      wow, 500+ years old
      rolling into Maps soon…
      Bahama example: Maps
      Bahama example: Views