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.
3416 Cleveland Ave.
Here’s a home photo taken on July 1st, followed by the Street View image from September 2007.
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 We’ve also heard from local businesses and homeowners who have been frustrated by the outdated images of their renovated properties but haven’t been sure what to do about it.”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 A company spokesperson declined to offer any specifics, but said that Google is aware of the outdated Street View imagery in New Orleans and does plan to refresh it over time.
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.