I had always assumed animated GIFs would go the way of the Blink tag, but it seems their popularity continues to grow. Just like hipsters are bringing back vinyl records and beekeeping, animated GIFs are a sign of good taste. So to sate the public’s thirst for more GIFs, I created a tool to create custom GIFs using Google’s Street View images. Try Geo GIF to make your own custom images.

The Street View API is stunningly simple to use. All you have to do make an http request for an image with the parameters embedded in the URL. It’s fast and easy. I wrote a PHP proxy script to request a series of images and then stitch them together into a single animated image.

The web front-end lets you select any place on a map, and drop a pin to select the location. The Street View API will find the closest location, though if it’s too far from a street (like the middle of a block), you’ll see the standard “no image found” placeholder.

Using the pin creates an animation where the Street View image rotates around 360 degrees. Another mode lets you draw a line, which creates an animation of movement down the line.

You can customize the animation by selecting the size (up to 640×640 pixels), the number of frames to include in the animation, how long to pause between frames, the pitch (looking straight ahead versus up or down), and the field of view (how much of the 360 degrees to includes in each image, 90 degrees being the default, and 120 degrees being the max).

Once you hit “Create Geo GIF”, wait a few moment for the image to be generated. Once it has loaded you can right-click it to save to your system. If you tweet it, use the hashtag #geogif and/or include my Twitter handle, @mvs202.

Instant Animations Using Google Street View

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