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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Ministry: Google Street View making its way to Qatar

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Technology giant Google has signed a deal to bring its Street View feature to Qatar, providing residents an on-the-ground look at different locations around the country.

In a statement on its website this week, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP/Baladiya) said authorities met with a senior Google official to discuss the technology, which stitches together photographs of a location that are taken primarily from cameras mounted on cars.

MIA "street view"
MIA “street view”

Currently, the Museum of Islamic Art is the only location in Qatar to offer a Google “street view,” with a panoramic look at each of the building’s three floors.

The MMUP said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Google, which will negotiate terms with the ministry’s Center for GIS.

In recent years, Qatar’s official geospatial agency has also been tasked with implementing the blue address plate system across the country and is currently producing a digital database of the nation’s topography.

Google will need to work with CGIS to obtain permission from authorities to survey the streets before producing the panoramic images, MMUP said.

No timeline about the launch of the Street View program was given.

Privacy concerns

Google Street View was launched in the US in 2007 and has expanded to include areas around the world, though coverage in the Gulf region in particular has been limited to non-existent.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

This is likely due to privacy and security concerns.

In the past, Google has run into trouble with other nations over Street View images. In 2011 for example, the company had to reshoot photographs in Japan after the cameras it mounted to cars were deemed “too high,” allowing them to see over walls into private homes.

In response to complaints, Street View now blurs faces and license plates, as well as homes upon request. Images can also be flagged to Google as inappropriate or sensitive.

Streets with Street View imagery available are shown as blue lines on Google Maps.

Would you use the technology if it came to Qatar? Thoughts?

28 COMMENTS

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Gaga
Gaga
5 years ago

Duh, Ashghal changes their minds every month, that’s why there’s a lot of new routes all the time.

irobot
irobot
5 years ago

wonder how everyone caught up in the “Harrodsburg” controversy are going to react to this.
wasnt it just a few days back that there was a huge public outroar on bieng caught on film in public.

Katie
5 years ago
Reply to  irobot

The two issues are only tangentially related. People were upset [rightly or wrongly] about a photographer taking close-up photos of women and kids and putting them online for the specific purpose of embarrassing/shaming them. Google doesn’t do that.

Katie
http://www.onlyindoha.com

irobot
irobot
5 years ago
Reply to  Katie

The relevance is in the base concept of being photographed witout consent right..

Katie
5 years ago
Reply to  irobot

There’s a huge difference between photographing someone on purpose for the specific intent of shaming them, and photographing someone by accident and blurring their faces while you provide a useful service for them.

Context matters, you know?

Katie
http://www.onlyindoha.com

irobot
irobot
5 years ago
Reply to  Katie

This is a vehicle capturing 360 views of streets along with everything on it including people, cars buildgs ..etc .. and now the public is aware of it .. so this is not really clicking pics by accident is it .. agree the motive or intent is not the same as Harrodsburg but the act of capturing pics without consent stiil applies right ..

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago
Reply to  Katie

I don’t think the intention was to shame people personally. It was as DN says “for illustration purposes only”.

AntiDNBS
AntiDNBS
5 years ago
Reply to  irobot

If you actually used Google Street View before, you would know that they blur faces.

irobot
irobot
5 years ago
Reply to  AntiDNBS

Yes I use street view and I’m aware of how it works. The relevance is in the base concept of being photographed witout consent.

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
5 years ago
Reply to  irobot

Which is only an issue where consent is needed for photography in a public place. In much of the world it is not needed. I would be surprised if Qatar has any law that specifically deals with that issue and instead allows it to be covered under other statutes.

Bajn
Bajn
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

No. No statues 🙂

irobot
irobot
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

Thought there is law against clicking pics of locals without their consent .. in other words the street view camera capturing any locals should be technically wrong

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  irobot

Do you usually see Qatari women walking down the streets?

irobot
irobot
5 years ago

Didn’t know it only applied to women.
If you’ve seen street view pictures you’d know one doesn’t necessarily need to be walking on the street to be captured on the camera

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago

Am I the only one who would probably rather that the MMUP focus on naming streets and numbering buildings, rather than this? Emailing friends with a screenshot from google maps when explaining where you live is one thing, but try ordering a pizza. Heaven only knows how people call an ambulance if they live in one of the more obscure parts of town, with no prominent roundabouts, shops or mosques to provide as landmarks.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Yep you are the only one, because Baladiya has already renamed streets two years ago and all of them now follow one pattern. Check the blue square with area number and building number on most of the buildings these days.

Katie
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Same story in Dubai. Luckily here I live somewhere relatively easy to find. There, it was a case of ‘Three buildings behind the Ramada hotel, on the right hand side above the milkshake place’. Stress of my life!

Ordering food here is an absolute pain anyway – most places I’ve called only have one driver and a wait time of about 90 mins – I’ve taken to going out altogether or occasionally even cooking for myself instead!

Katie
http://www.onlyindoha.com

Bajn
Bajn
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Mosques as landmarks? Impossible in the GCC.

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Last time we called 999 they requested the 3 numbers, House#, Street#, Area# … they were at my house within minutes.

No need for a description of a route, just the 3 numbers are enough.

http://maps.moi.gov.qa/publicgis/index.html is very useful (in Arabic: first button on the right, right after the logo, with 4 squares) – enter the 3 numbers and it zooms to a house/building.

http://geoportal.gisqatar.org.qa/qmap/index.html is less useful

AFT
AFT
5 years ago

The arrangement with Google street view would have it advantages. In several instances where this is available, through the street view, I am able to visually see what my friend fro Spain or Canada is trying to describe the type of neighborhood or place he is in.

There was even an instance when a friend’s email account was hacked and the hacker sent an address where the amount was to be sent. We just prompt typed in the address and saw in the Google street view that the address exist but it is a park in Europe.

The Google street concept allows also to view ahead of time, the places you intend to visit, thus ahead of time you can gauge if what the advertised in travel brochures are correct.

irobot
irobot
5 years ago
Reply to  AFT

Doha on google street view : streets between sandstone color buildings, they all look the same 😀

Abdulla
Abdulla
5 years ago

At last! I love using street view because I can discover the area and have a feel of it before going there.

Bajn
Bajn
5 years ago

The street view car will be flashed by LC man

WayToQatar
5 years ago

Interesting! Waiting to see Qatar in Google Street view!

http://www.waytoqatar.com

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed

UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

justa person
justa person
5 years ago

You look like a indian my friend.. please reply in arabic so i know your qatari ..

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  justa person

LOL. હું 100% એવા કતારના છું, એક ભારતીય નથી.

Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
5 years ago

This obsession with privacy in the public domain makes little sense. If you are out and about, an untold number of people can ‘imprint’ the sight of you to their memory. Cameras only make it easier and seeing how minute they are becoming, we soon won’t even notice them. However, why people want to take photos and make videos the whole time instead of just experiencing life, also escapes me.

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