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Google Maps’ “street view” is personally useful

There has been some controversy lately about the “street view” feature of Google Maps, and privacy issues related to it. But from a personal point of view, I find the feature quite useful.

I’m a very visual person, especially when it comes to geography. I’ve had the term physicality in my personal lexicon for several years now, referring to the physical details of the spaces I find myself in. From large physical features like mountains, lakes, amount of visible sky, to the small things like the type of wall or flooring, I have noticed that I notice these things.

I have also noticed that before I go somewhere new, I start picturing in my mind what the place will look like. It’s not something I actively sit down and think about; the picture just forms in my head over time or instantaneously, depending on how far away the destination is in time.

That was a big source of disappointment for me as a child, when the places I went to wound up looking nothing like I had imagined, over and over again. It’s a small thing, but when it happens time and again it takes a mental toll on a child.

Now when I’m going somewhere new, I see if I can view it in street view. That way I’m not wasting mental effort reconfiguring my expectations when I go somewhere, on something as small as a hotel or office building not looking the way I had thought it would. It sounds silly but it makes a small difference for me.

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