Google Updates its Street View to Show Sandy Damaged Neighborhoods in NYC
The company updated the maps not just to document the historical storm, but to show the rest of the world the damage the storm wrought on the city's shoreline communities.
"Our hope was to capture accurate, updated imagery that would help people around the world better understand the extent of the damage and the importance of coming together as a community to aid in the recovery efforts," William Floyd, Google's public affairs manager for New York, told the Advance.
At the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, Google drove their Street View cars through Tottenville, New Dorp Beach, Midland Beach, St. George and Stapleton.
The cars also took pictures in parts of Brooklyn, the Rockaways and Far Rockaways, and the perimeter of Manhattan.
Residents who initially spotted the colorful car, with a panoramic camera mounted on the roof, were furious that the search company was taking pictures of their neighborhood in ruins, the New York Post reported in January.
“They are putting us wiped out on the map!” Damian Malandro, 39, told the Post. “They’re going to call it a wasteland! I don’t like Google driving around my property. What are they doing it for? To drop the property value?”
But some residents now feel the pictures need to be shown so people outside of New York can see the havoc the storm caused.
"It has to be done to show people what happened," said Stephen Drimalas, 46, who lives in Ocean Breeze.
Drimalas, who spotted his battered home on Street View, said the images may also help record how the water flowed during the storm so officials can better plan to protect communities.
"They need to know how the water spread out," he said.
Google told the Advance that they will drive around the damaged homes again in the future to document the recovery efforts, but had no timeline for when the images would be taken.
Aside from updating the Street View, the company has also partnered with Historypin.com to create a photo archive of the borough's neighborhoods before, during and after the storm.
"The history of it is a history of resilience, and that's what we want to reflect," Susan Molinari, Google's vice president for government affairs and former Staten Island representative, told the Advance.