Archives September 23, 2019

Google Loans Cameras To Volunteers To Fill Gaps in ‘Street View’

Kanhema, who works as a product manager in Silicon Valley and is a freelance photographer in his spare time, volunteered to carry Google’s Street View gear to map what amounted to 2,000 miles of his home country. The Berkeley, Calif., resident has filled in the map of other areas in Africa and Canada as well.

“We start in the large metropolitan areas where we know we have users, where it’s easy for us to drive and we can execute quickly,” says Stafford Marquardt, a product manager for Street View.

He says the team is working to expand the service’s reach. To do that, Google often relies on volunteers who can either borrow the company’s camera equipment or take photos using their own. Most images on Street View are collected by drivers, and most of these drivers are employed by third parties that work with Google. But when it comes to the places Google hasn’t prioritized, people like Kanhema can fill in the gaps.

“It’s so conspicuous to have a 4-foot contraption attached to the roof of your car,” Kanhema says. “People are walking up and asking questions about, ‘Is that a camera? What are you recording? What are you filming? It is for Google Maps? Will my house be on the map? Will my face be on the map?'”

Google doesn’t pay him or the other volunteers — whom the company calls “contributors” — for the content they upload. Kanhema, for example, spent around $5,000 of his own money to travel across Zimbabwe for the project.

Google currently has no plans to compensate its volunteers, adding that it pays contributors “in a lot of other ways” by offering “a platform to host gigabytes and terabytes of imagery and publish it to the entire world, absolutely for free.”

The 120 Most CCTV Surveilled Cities In the World

Comparitech.com has published a report and spreadsheet laying out how many CCTV cameras are in operation in 120 different cities around the world, and data for the crime rates in these cities. The report notes “We found little correlation between the number of public CCTV cameras and crime or safety.”

8 of the 10 most surveilled cities are in China, even though London and Atlana also make the cut, and the report says that — depending on what numbers you believe — China will have between 200 Million and 626 Million CCTV cameras, or possibly even more, in operation by 2020. That would be almost 1 CCTV camera per 2 citizens in the country, and the number could go up.

Outside of China, the top most-surveilled cities in the world are:

London – 68.40 cameras per 1,000 people
Atlanta – 15.56 cameras per 1,000 people
Singapore – 15.25 cameras per 1,000 people
Abu Dhabi – 13.77 cameras per 1,000 people
Chicago – 13.06 cameras per 1,000 people
Sydney – 12.35 cameras per 1,000 people
Baghdad – 12.30 cameras per 1,000 people
Dubai – 12.14 cameras per 1,000 people
Moscow – 11.70 cameras per 1,000 people
Berlin – 11.18 cameras per 1,000 people
New Delhi – 9.62 cameras per 1,000 people