Street-level imaging software provides panoramic views from various positions along streets throughout the world. Conventional street-level viewing applications or Web-based street-level viewing services allow a user to rotate within a panoramic "bubble" to view a particular street location from all directions. The user can rotate in the bubble using a navigation control and an input device (e.g., a mouse) or finger. To turn a street corner and enter a another street (e.g., a street intersection), the user has to "jump" to a panoramic "bubble" at the intersection then pan in the bubble to face in the direction of the target street. This can be a tedious experience for a user of a handheld device that needs to navigate streets of a neighborhood quickly.
Apple describes how a user looking at a street-level view of Main and Broadway might navigate the scene.
From this location in the panoramic imagery, the user can move device 100 physically from left to right, or forward or backward. These translations cause one or more onboard motion sensors to generate data that represents the motion, such as acceleration or velocity data. In some implementations, translations forward and backward (e.g., along +/-Z directions) result in movement up or down the virtual Main Street. For example, if the user moves device 100 forward or away from his body (+Z direction) the observer will cross Broadway and enter North Main Street. Likewise, if the user moves device 100 backward or towards his body (-Z direction) the observer will move down South Main Street and away from the intersection.
In another example, if the user moves device 100 to the left (-Y direction), the observer will automatically navigate the corner of South Main Street and East Broadway. If the user moves device 100 to the right (+Y direction), the observer will automatically navigate the corner of South Main Street and West Broadway.
Apple has been hiring 'Ground Truth Managers' that will be responsible over information collected on location for various regions around the globe. However, this is the first hint we've had that Apple might look to directly rival Google's Street View product.
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