New Orleans Residents: Dear Google, It’s Time To Update Our Street View Images

A pair of New Orleanians are trying to get Google to update the Street View imagery of their city — some of which is five years old and still shows the ruins from 2005′s Hurricane Katrina.

“We basically just want to let Google know that there’s a real need for updated images this many years after Katrina,” says Annalisa Kelly, who, along with Hunter King, recently launched Update Google Street View in New Orleans! It’s a blog that juxtaposes current city photos with Google’s images to shine a light on the need for new Street View photos.

As King and Kelly say on the blog, New Orleans is “continuously changing, demolishing, and rebuilding,” and Google’s old Street View imagery “hurts local businesses, apartment hunters, landlords, and the general perception of the city.”

The pair are crowd-sourcing image ideas from their fellow New Orleanians. Here are a couple recent examples from their blog:

5700 Block of Wickfield Drive (Gentilly)

Below, the Street View image is from August 2007. It’s followed by a current photo taken on July 1st.

neworleans1-a

neworleans1-b

3416 Cleveland Ave.

Here’s a home photo taken on July 1st, followed by the Street View image from September 2007.

neworleans2-b

neworleans2-a

Reaction to the blog has been very positive in the couple weeks since Kelly and King launched it.

“One of the best things to come out of this blog,” Kelly said via email, “has been the personal thank you messages we’ve received from people who have been trying to move back to New Orleans but have been struggling to find good places from afar because they can’t rely on Street View. We’ve also heard from local businesses and homeowners who have been frustrated by the outdated images of their renovated properties but haven’t been sure what to do about it.”

Before launching the blog, Kelly and King tried to contact Google directly to ask for new Street View images. Their readers have helped, too. They used email, Twitter and even Google help forums — but no luck. So they decided to launch the blog, instead.

We reached out to Google’s PR team yesterday. A company spokesperson declined to offer any specifics, but said that Google is aware of the outdated Street View imagery in New Orleans and does plan to refresh it over time.

On the bright side, there are reports that Street View cars were seen in the New Orleans area in April 2011, and Street View trikes were seen in New Orleans in May of this year.

So, there’s hope that things will change soon for New Orleans. For some residents and businesses that have been waiting five years, it can’t happen soon enough.

Postscript, August 14: Google has pushed out new Street View imagery for New Orleans. See our story for more details: Google Updates New Orleans Street View Imagery.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Features: General | Google: Street View | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://txhoudini.com txhoudini

    It is odd how slow they are to even update the satellite view. Here in Austin, 183 was widened and added on to. The work was completed in 2007 but the satellite view still shows it under construction.

  • Andrew Shephard

    Offering current and latest contents to various of its properties is needed urgently. not only on Google Places but there are some lacunae on other platforms as well like Google knowledge graph and main SERP. Google pulls contents directly from Wikipedia to its Knowledge graph without bothering much about the date it was updated and hence is facing huge criticism on search engine arena. hope Google will do something to get them rectified! 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3F7KGRGH6JSL62B7DAUF3BITAM Jelajah IPTEK

    Many knowledge and information I got from your site, and I get new insights, such as your article that I read today, if there is a good time please visit my site called Roaming science and technology. Thanks and best regards from Indonesia friendship.

  • http://twitter.com/andrew_goodman Andrew Goodman

    Who knew? With comprehensive global surveillance comes responsibility? And mounting costs. The New Orleans case is sad, but it’s also kind of rough looking at outdated pictures of vacant lots or half-built condos in rapidly-improving neighborhoods… I’m sure the realtors hate that… one major use of Street View is to check out a place without having to travel there.

  • jim0266

    I happened to be standing in front of my house when the Google street car rolled past me. That was July 2011. Still waiting for the photo to be updated.

  • SEN_5241

    All the refugees should be returned so they can tear it down again and stop plaguing the communities foolish enough to them them squat there.

  • Hunter King

    They updated today!

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