Google Maps Street View allows you to view locations around the world from the perspective of a panoramic camera. It can also transport you into the center of fictional worlds.
For example the panoramic Street Views in the Big City Map can transport you into the comic book world of the ‘Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline’ series. Big City Map is a project by Emory University’s Center for Digital Scholarship to digitally recreate the city depicted in the Brotherman comics. This digital creation includes a map of the city and three interactive Street View scenes of locations in Big City.
Currently the Big City Map allows you to explore custom Street Views of 922 Vex Boulevard (pictured above), 550th Street and 456 Street, Tautyard, Big City. Select any of these three scenes and you can explore their 360 degree panoramic images – just as you would explore a real world location with Google Maps Street View.
This isn’t the first time that Street View type panoramas have been used for artistic depictions. The Grand Master of Street View art has to be Raúl Moyado Sandoval. Raúl has been creating panoramic paintings since 2013.
Back in 2013 Raúl used the Google Maps API’s Custom Street View feature to create immersive 360 degree landscape paintings. Mobile Cyclorama has now moved on from the Google Maps API. These days Raúl creates 360 degree panoramic images which can be viewed using a VR headset, on a mobile device or on a desktop computer. Mobile Cyclorama also includes a brief overview of the history of panoramic paintings, which date back at least to the 18th century.
The Big City Map isn’t even the first time that 360 degree panoramas have been used to depict fictional worlds. For example there is Julien Gauthier with his wonderful biopunk inspired BANGKOKXXIII – 360 Street. This 360 degree panoramic painting depicts a scene inspired by Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl. As you rotate around this panoramic image an imagined Asian street scene looms over your point of view, with towering skyscrapers, an overgrown overpass and even a gigantic elephant.