This is Raf Ho, the one-man band behind all the camera works for the Google Maps Street View in Hong Kong for both drivers and backpackers. Raf has a specific vehicle to capture images for Google Maps, attached with the car is a 360 degrees camera with 15 lenses. Raf told us that every shooting expedition would heavily depend on the weather, and there is nothing better than clear blue sky. He also said that it is particularly difficult to carry around 15kg of equipment to capture the images at certain mountainous area, and due to the hot summer in Hong Kong, one part of the hiking track took two years to shoot.
It may come as a surprise to you that in the six years that Google Maps has launched in Hong Kong since 2010, the street view was not only shot with cameras on cars, but also tricycles in 2012 and wheelbarrows in 2013. Cameras were later attached to rucksacks in 2014 to capture images of rural lanes and hiking paths, i.e. places that are unreachable by car.
This is the 360 degrees camera that has 15 lenses, the one Raf uses to capture the street view of Hong Kong for Google Maps. However, the severe traffic congestion in Hong Kong would only allow a few streets to be captured during each trip, which slows down the overall progress.
On my left is Cynthia Wei, the Asia Pacific Project Manager for Google Maps Street View, “Since Hong Kong is one of the most fast-changing large cities, Google Street View vehicle will capture new images for the streets of Hong Kong. This will also be the first time for us to capture images of Southern areas of the Lantau Island, including the likes of Mui Wo, Ngong Ping and Pui O. The newly added images would gradually be updated to Google Maps in late January to mid-February in 2017 at the earliest, “ said Wei.
You may wonder how one can carry 15kg of camerawork equipment on a hiking trip, or you may be interested what actually takes place during one of these shooting trips. Stay tune to The National Stage on coming Fridays.
Original Text in Chinese 中文原文: