Street View: Tour the World with the Robot Flâneur

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flâneur – noun; idler or lounger

Everyone loves mooching around the streets of a strange city via the wonderful Street View feature on Google Maps. But even so, there’s a lot of tedious clicking and mousing to be done if you really want to get the feel of a place. What we need is a more relaxing way to explore.

London-based writer, publisher, and coder James Bridle thought the same, and decided to do something about it.

The result is Robot Flâneur, a site designed to put the awe back in exploration. Pick a city (a selection of some of the world’s biggest and most interesting is on offer), hit the full screen button, and sit back with the cool drink of your choice to enjoy the ride.

The Robot will load up random street views from that city, cycling through them slowly so you have plenty of time to take it all in. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, it’s easy to skip onto the next thing. If you do, it’s just as easy to pause.

Techland got in touch to ask Bridle what it was all about.

He said: “I like cities a lot. I’m currently reshooting Patrick Keiller’s film London and working on an actual book about maps, and I’ve also got an ongoing project called the New Aesthetic which is in part concerned with the way that machines see, and Robot Flaneur is very much a product of those interests.”

But it was also for the geolulz too?

“Yeah, for the geolulz too, obviously.”

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