In all seriousness, my guess is this is likely an optical phenomena of kind or a glitch in the camera. For several miles in either direction on that road, at least one of those anomalies is visible overhead:
Which makes me think it's simply the sun shining through the clouds in a strange way creating that shadow. However, the clouds were relatively dense at the time and other than some phenomenon of refraction, that wouldn't explain three of these "anomalies" showing up at once, since there aren't three suns (in which case we'd have a bigger problem to solve). That being said my only other thought is a camera glitch, which is plausible since the anomalies aren't always present on this stretch if you go frame by frame (they are there frequently though).
Any thoughts? I'm not in street view a whole lot so things like this may be a common occurrence.
Last Edit: Mar 31, 2021 13:04:42 GMT by syzygy: moved thread to proper sub-forum
These look like digital artifacts, the usual Google euphemism for what we laymen would call a glitch. Not so much a camera glitch really, but more of a stitching glitch. The problem arises from the fact that it's not just one camera that makes up the street view. The street view camera system is like this:
The camera head takes multiple shots every second and each camera on that multi-camera head records its own little rectangular image. These images are downloaded back at base and it's then the job of the image processors to "stitch" these essentially flat images into a sphere, correcting for parallax and lens distortion, as shown in the third diagram. Stitching two photos together side-by-side is relatively easy and, by-and-large, SV makes a pretty good seamless job of it, along the grey areas shown in the third diagram. It really does appear seamless.
The problem gets worse, however, where the algorithm has to stitch the corner areas together where 3 images overlap, as in the black areas in the third diagram, and here it's not quite so seamless. Mostly it doesn't matter when you're looking up, since the sky is pretty uniform and unfocussed and there are no hard sharp details to try to bring together, so it's quite easy for the algorithm just to blend the fuzzy edges together. Occasionally light conditions, a stray reflection, of perhaps even a water drop will be enough to cause the algorithm to try to blend it in, causing the large smears you point out.
Once you've spotted these glitches, you'll find them all over the place in SV; unexplained smudges on walls or the sides of long vehicles beside the SV car. Try "driving" along in SV, on almost any road with white lines down the sides and middle; look down and you'll see breaks, discontinuities, smears and smudges all over the place. The fact that we seldom notice them says a lot for how much the algorithm gets it right(ish), most of the time!
There's a pretty good write-up on the imaging process here.
Last Edit: Mar 31, 2021 11:27:42 GMT by frankmcvey
Thanks for the input everyone! I have definitely noticed more of these splicing glitches since reading your replies. I'm starting to really appreciate the level of engineering that went into the SV effort!
KitsuneFox: syzygy - posts I have made here do not receive much attention. I may do a detailed writeup of the now lost Edgemont Park in PA, one of the first electrified trolley parks in the world, but still debating. I'm missing 1 key bit of information.
Aug 17, 2021 10:38:20 GMT
syzygy: BRUTAL! Cars as if were matchboxes in a model town... Brilliant infos you share here in shoutbox - why not you post these?
Aug 16, 2021 17:36:00 GMT
KitsuneFox: In the early morning, before sunrise, of Augusts 11th, 12th, and 13th is reported to be the best viewing time for the Perseids meteor shower.
Aug 10, 2021 10:32:11 GMT
KitsuneFox: Davidson Seamount is the tallest known fully underwater mountain in the world, measuring 7,480 feet base to peak.
Aug 5, 2021 0:02:27 GMT
syzygy: ...and about other hills and humps... stone cold wisdom! ( :
Jul 28, 2021 14:13:17 GMT
KitsuneFox: Mount Wycheproof in Australia is the shortest recognized mountain on the world. It stands at 141 feet base to peak. A mineral named 'Wycheproofite' is mined near the location, and is the only known place it's found.
Jul 28, 2021 10:13:47 GMT
syzygy: Cool! Great extra info series about "all stars" highest mountains on Earth!
Jul 22, 2021 6:25:22 GMT
KitsuneFox: Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is the highest mountain on Earth, as measured from the center of the planet. The peak is over 6,800 feet further away than Mount Everest, and is the closest land on earth to outer space.
Jul 22, 2021 0:13:35 GMT
SpiderX22: Big news in the Aircraft in Flight database (in Transportation) -> HUGE changes. Thanks RaveyThirteen for your post -> will be changing ownership of the collection (hopefully for me lol) -> look forward to this!
Jul 20, 2021 21:02:26 GMT