Thursday, August 23, 2012

Map of the Week: Volkswagen Street View Quest

Map of the Week: Volkswagen Street View Quest
Why we like it: We really like this creative approach to interacting with Street View imagery. This Google Maps API implementation shows us that are still many different ways to take advantage of the imagery offered in the API.

When I was kid, my friends and I would play a game called “Punch Beetle” (also known as punch bug, punch dub, piggy punch, slug bug, or beetle bug depending on where you’re from). In brief: the object of the game is to be the first one to spot a Volkwagen Beetle and call out "Punch buggy!" or "Slug bug!" while punching your opponent in the arm.

In many ways, this game is a real world viral meme that became popular without the Internet. Using Google Street View imagery via the Google Maps API, Volkswagen found a way to translate this old tradition into an online game that you can play anywhere in the world without actually having to be in the car or punching anyone. Head over to the Street Quest site for a cool YouTube trailer and to start playing (note: you'll need a facebook login to participate in the challenge).


In VW Street View Quest, players search Google Street View imagery to find and tag any VW vehicles (not just bugs) that have been picked up by our cameras. The person who tags the most vehicles wins the challenge. There are also bonus challenges where users are asked to find the location of a particular car using only a few degrees of the Street View panorama as a clue.



Currently, prizes are only available to residents of South Africa, but the rest of the world can still explore the site and follow along. The top four users who find the most VW vehicles in Google Street View get to compete against each in real life to find the most VWs in Cape Town, South Africa. Overall, this concept is a fun way to embrace the sub-cultures and memes that have sprung up around the VW brand and share them with the rest of the world.