StreetsideThe true-to-life experience for explorers everywhere.
Blaise Aguera y Arcas, architect of Bing Maps, shares an inside look at the Streetside feature.
Microsoft is committed to safeguarding individual privacy and security.
Discover the Details.
- What is Streetside?
Street level imagery (a.k.a. Streetside) enables map users to experience Bing Maps from street level. Streetside will supplement maps, directions and local search. Imagery is collected using a 360 degree camera mounted on an automobile. We drive public roads and other areas open to the public (e.g., parking lots), with our main focus on streets with businesses and points of public interest.
- Where can I see Streetside?
Streetside is available on the Bing Maps Beta website at http://www.bing.com/maps/explore/.
- When will street level imagery include international markets?
Microsoft has already collected imagery in 56 US metro areas. In November 2009, Microsoft began collecting street level images on public roads, primarily in commercial areas in Canada near venues associated with the 2010 Winter Olympic Games including the Vancouver and Whistler area. Other international markets will be added soon.
- What measures will Microsoft take to ensure street level imagery doesn’t violate the privacy of individuals?
As with all Microsoft technology, street level imagery and Bing maps were designed with security and privacy concerns in mind. Our mapping products comply with applicable laws governing the acquisition and publishing of imagery. Specifically, we use automated software and advanced algorithms to detect and blur faces and license plates to protect individual privacy. This automated software and advanced algorithms are based on years of Microsoft Research investments in computer vision techniques. We also accept requests to blur or remove images of faces or persons, homes, cars, acts of violence, nudity and unlawful material. We review every request. Depending on the content of the imagery we may remove it entirely, blur a portion of it or take no action if no identifying features remain visible.
- What steps has Microsoft taken to ensure street level imagery is in accordance with local laws?
We are taking the necessary steps to ensure privacy officials, both governmental and non-governmental in regions we plan to collect imagery, are aware and approve of our intended activities including imagery collection areas and process, dates, use intent, privacy protection measures, etc.
- Will you notify communities that you will be filming in their neighborhoods?
We will take the necessary steps to ensure filming locations and dates are communicated publically.
- What classes of roads is the imagery collected from?
We primarily drive public roads with our initial focus on streets with businesses and points of public interest. At times, we may drive residential areas as well. As we continue to grow our street level coverage, we’ll share plans to expand collection areas and guidelines.
- How and when will images be created?
The images will be created using cameras placed on marked cars that will travel through metropolitan areas.
- What kind of notice will be on the vehicle?
The vehicles will be clearly marked with Microsoft or Bing logos along with our imagery collection partner, NAVTEQ.
- How are you partnering with NAVTEQ?
Microsoft is partnering with NAVTEQ, the leading global provider of digital map, traffic and location data, to collect Streetside imagery. NAVTEQ will use their expertise in efficient data collection to staff and operate the collection vehicles and manage data logistics. Microsoft will apply industry-leading image processing and privacy protection techniques to create data products for both Bing Maps and NAVTEQ commercial customers.
- How long will street level images be retained?
We keep original imagery captured in for one year or in accordance with local laws in order to assist with continued development of street level imagery technology and privacy algorithms.
- Does Street level imagery violate the privacy of individuals?
As with all Microsoft technology, street level imagery and Bing maps were designed with security and privacy concerns in mind. We have reviewed privacy rules and regulations to ensure that our street level imagery activities comply with applicable laws governing the acquisition and publishing of imagery. We are also reaching out proactively to the privacy community to inform them about this project and our approach.
- What and how do you blur images?
We use industry-leading automated software and advanced algorithms to detect and blur faces and license plates. The automated software and advanced algorithms are based on years of Microsoft Research investments in computer vision techniques.
- How accurate is the blurring?
Our internal tests have shown that our privacy algorithms and detection rate are consistent with the success rate in the industry. As with all automated approaches, there is a chance that some images may come through that should have been blurred. In those instances, we allow people to identify and report to us any published images that may be of concern to them.
- What takedown requests will you honor?
We accept requests to blur or remove images of faces or persons, homes, cars, acts of violence, nudity and unlawful material. Please refer to the Report an image concern section on the sidebar to see how requests to remove imagery can be made.
- What happens if someone requests an image be removed?
We have individuals that review every request. Depending on the content of the imagery we may remove it entirely, blur a portion of it or take no action if no identifying features remain visible.
- How long will it take to respond to a request to remove or blur an image?
Our team reviews every request and takes action promptly.
- Can home and business owners request that images of their home or business be removed?
We accept requests to blur or remove images of faces or persons, homes, cars, acts of violence, nudity and unlawful material. These requests will be determined on a case-by-case.