In the meantime, however, step forward MIT graduate student in the institution’s digital signal processing group, Joseph McMichael.
When he isn’t “focused on compensating for quantization error in multi-channel interleaved systems” (!!), McMichael also plays around with Google Maps and code.
In his spare time he has created a wonderfully simple and rather fun tool called Globe Genie.
The idea is very simple: a user is placed somewhere on a Google Map with Streetview. They can then “teleport” themselves to a random location anywhere else in the world (although they can narrow it down to individual continents).
All the usual Streetview features are included, so the user can wander about as well whenever they get to a particular location.
Here is a starting point in the UK:
Good afternoon France:
Down to South Africa:
And, err, good evening Antarctica:
“Globe Genie generates random latitude and longitude coordinates within several pre-specified rectangles around regions that have Street View imagery. It then queries Google’s servers to determine whether the point is valid. If not, it repeats this process until it finds a valid location.”
While Globe Genie is just a bit of fun, it is actually quite easy to see if the destinations served by a travel company with lots of products were put into a database that it could actually be rather nice “discovery” tool for potential customers on a website.