One moment you are there and the next you are gone. People will soon be disappearing from Google Street View. Like a scene out of Omega Man, the last man on earth, Google Street View will be void of people. Computer science graduate student Arturo Flores has designed an automated method to remove pedestrians from Google Street View images with easy.
Since the introduction of Google Street View, a part of
Google Maps, vehicles equipped with roof-mounted mobile
cameras have methodically captured street-level images of
entire cities. The worldwide Street View coverage spans
over 10 countries in four different continents. This service
is freely available to anyone with an internet connection.
While this is seen as a valuable service, the images are
taken in public spaces, so they also contain license plates,
faces, and other information information deemed sensitive
from a privacy standpoint. Privacy concerns have been expressed
by many, in particular in European countries. As a
result, Google has introduced a system that automatically
blurs faces in Street View images. However, many identifiable
features still remain on the un-blurred person. In
this paper, we propose an automatic method to remove entire
pedestrians from Street View images in urban scenes.
The resulting holes are filled in with data from neighboring
views. A compositing method for creating “ghost-free” mosaics
is used to minimize the introduction of artifacts. This
yields Street View images as if the pedestrians had never
been there. We present promising results on a set of images
from cities around the world. Read more>>