A9.com, Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.com, launched A9.com Maps, an online, interactive mapping service with street-level images in a single interface. A9’s Block View technology combines driving directions and other mapping tools with the street-level images of locations and their surroundings.
"We're making maps slightly less abstract and closer to the real world," said A9.com CEO Udi Manber. "With A9.com Maps you can actually see pictures of where you're going and places on the way there."
Upon entering a desired address, A9.com will provide driving directions or mapping, as well as tools that show how to get there and what sights can be seen along the way.
Other services include a virtual walk up and down the street for different photo angles of stores and restaurants and virtual jumping to the opposite side of the street. Users can also see images nearby by clicking anywhere on the map and zoom in and out to see an overlay of all streets offered in Block View.
A9’s Block View was introduced in January as part of A9.com Yellow Pages. The company managed to capture a “block view” with trucks equipped with digital cameras, global positioning system receivers and proprietary software and hardware. Block View currently has 35 million images in 22 U.S. cities including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Miami, Houston and Fargo. More than a dozen other U.S. metro areas are also covered.