In this Wiki-entry, Aesthetics of Exclusion will share a tool that automatically saves a screenshot that has been made in Google Streetview under the GPS code of the location and share a dataset of images of the facades of bars/shops/etc. Both have been developed for the project StreetSwipe.

In previous iterations of the project Aesthetics of Exclusion, we worked with a script that automatically downloaded (Google) StreetView images through the use of the Google Maps API:

The downside for this particular way of downloading images is that it is quite easy to download a complete neighborhood or city, but if you want to limit yourself to specific streets (in our case with more activity in shopping and leisure), you would still have to repeat the process a lot of times.

After processing a certain amount of data, you would have to pay Google for their services. Next to that, you would have to manually remove a lot of residue images and, in our case where we are interested in just the part of the building’s façade that includes the shop or bar, you would also have to manually select only this part of the building and remove the rest.

In the future, we would like to automatize this process using computer vision. In that case, the image recognition would be able to recognize the bar- or storefront and make an automatic selection, but for our first set of experiments, it made more sense to use a mechanical turk[1] to do so. This person was tasked to make screenshots manually within the Google StreetView environment.

However, since it was important for our research to also save the location of the images, our programmer Jorrit Schaap wrote a script that automatically saves the screenshot under a file name that includes the GPS code.

Step by step GPS-logger for screenshots

  1. Download this package:
  2. Unzip the folder on your harddrive.
  3. Go to Chrome.
  4. Type as url chrome://extensions/ and push enter.
  5. Put Developer mode on (right top slider on your screen).
  6. Click “Load unpacked” (button left).
  7. Navigate to the folder of the package on your harddrive.
  8. Click select.
  9. The extension is now activated, you now see the camera icon top right in your chrome window.
  10. Go to Google StreetView.
  11. Click on the camera icon, a new screen will open.
  12. Click with your left mouse button on the screen, the file will be then automatically saved with the GPS coordinates as file name

This all resulted in a dataset of approximately 2.000 images, with the most part of it saved under a file name with a GPS-code (since we started this only some time after we had begun manually selecting the images).

Author : Sjoerd ter Borg - Aesthetics of Exclusion

[1] To hire remotely located “crowdworkers” to perform discrete on-demand tasks that computers are currently unable to do. In our case we payed a UK-resident a fair hourly wage to make this selection of images.

  • streetview_gps_logger.txt
  • Last modified: 2019/12/18 16:38
  • by waag