Get Your Mapcrunch On


I’ve found a fascinating site for geography enthusiasts everywhere… or just those in love with the random-on-demand nature of the web: go to Mapcrunch to see random Google map street views from around the world. It’s addicting to keep hitting that “Next” button and see a new panorama unfold before you. Keep in mind that you can also swivel the street view all around, and view what’s up the street or behind you. You also get a pin-on-a-map representation of your view, in case you were wondering where, for example, Gordons Bay, WC, South Africa is.

Here are the first ten places to which I was “teleported:”

  • Gordons Bay, WC, South Africa: a beautiful seaside cliff road
  • Bojanala, NW, South Africa: some low-slung grim-looking buildings by the road. A woman pushes a wheelbarrow by the side of the road with two kids nearby
  • Japan, 〒074-0004 道道57号線: somewhere near Asakihawa, a bland and light-industry stretch of road
  • Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil: another bland and industrial stretch, but with lush vegetation and stunning green mountains in the distance
  • Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil: on a highway behind a trailer full of new cars, and more lush mountains
  • Beugnies, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France: on a narrow road through beautiful, level farmland near an old brick farmhouse and barn
  • Juva, Etelä-Savo, Suomi (Finland): on a flat and ruler-straight dirt road in a snowy pine forest
  • Robert Lee, TX, USA: on a scrubby highway, behind a cement-mixer, with the West Texas hills in the distance
  • Taradale, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand: winding through the curvy hills, looking a lot like the California that appears in films and TV
  • R. de Entre-Campos, Coloane, Macau: a tree-shaded road with some warehouse buildings overlooking craggy mountains and the South China Sea

It’s pretty interesting to see how with just one snapshot, you can get a flavor of a particular country. You also have the option of confining your search to specific countries. For people like me who are inveterate world atlas skimmers, this is Nirvana.