Last year Google announced a new certification program for 360-degree capable cameras that would aid in connecting user captured images with Google Maps’ Street View. Historically Google has dispatched their own vehicles around the world to capture Street Views. By certifying cameras capable of meeting the programs requirements, Google can start to crowd source some of the Street Views material and images. Insta360 has announced that their $3,500 Insta360 Pro camera is ready as the first certified camera in the program.
Besides the actual camera itself, users will need the suction cup mounts to place the camera on top of a vehicle, a gps module for geo-tagging purposes, and Insta360 Stitcher software to handle workflow, preparation and delivery to Google on the backend. According to Charles Armstrong, Street View product manager,
“The majority of 360 imagery on Google Maps was captured by Google’s fleet of camera-equipped vehicles, but the world changes quickly, so there’s always more to cover. With the Insta360 Pro, it’s easy for anyone to extend Street View coverage on their own, whether it’s to document an updated storefront or share an immersive adventure across the globe.”
The Insta360 Pro is capable of capturing 5 frames-per-second in shooting mode at a whopping 8K resolution. At this speed and resolution, the resulting shots will be easily converted to the evenly spaced Street Views accessible through Google Maps. When done taking a ride with the camera running, users can load the footage into the Insta360 Stitcher software. After some processing, an in app option can be used to publish new footage directly to Street View. Once uploaded, Google will take over and handle the remaining geocoding and matching everything up on Google Maps.