Street View System for $300

While OpenStreetMap is continuing to hand data vendors their posteriors, some things, like Google Street View, would seem difficult for the crowd to replicate. Perhaps not for much longer. I just ran across this in Wired’s Gadget Lab:

Using eight cheap webcams, a GPS receiver and open-source software, West Point graduate Roy D. Ragsdale built a rig that can do what Google’s Street-View cars do: take images of the world around it and stitch them together into panoramas. The difference? This version can be carried on your head and costs just $300 to make.

Not included in the cost is a cheap PC for data capture (a netbook would probably do it), but the FOSS software used can create Google Earth ready output.

Now for the next step - crowdsource oblique photography by jumping up and down. It would give NBA/WNBA players something to do in the off season.