Mountain View, California — The NFL season may be over now, but Google’s Street View cameras are always active that have journeyed to the Grand Canyon, under the sea, and to the top of ski slopes, and over the weekend added some pretty interesting, interactive, 360-degree imagery of Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, to its Maps service.
For those armchair viewer as well as those in the faraway land, Google brings a novel way to explore an NFL stadium without paying the $100 average ticket price: Google Maps today introduced Street View for Lucas Oil Stadium, better known as the home of the Indianapolis Colts. This is the first time the Web giant has mapped the inside of an NFL stadium, and it is the first U.S. sports venue to get the Street View treatment in Google Maps.
Lucas Oil Stadium, as seen in Street View… (Credit: Google)
“Together with the Colts and Lucas Oil Stadium, we are truly delighted to give you, the fans, a behind-the-scenes look at the home of the Colts, and enable anyone to ‘visit’ the stadium from wherever they may be,” Google Maps product manager Evan Rapoport, wrote in a blog post Friday.
However, the company announced that the plan was made possible due to collaboration with the National Football League’s (NFL) Indianapolis Colts. Through this arrangement, Google Maps now offers users a VIP, 360-degree interactive tour of the team’s stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium.
As part of its ongoing mission to create the most accurate and usable map of the world, Google decided to take it things a step further by recording what a professional football team’s stadium looked like. The company says that it has captured a variety of views, including allowing users to view what it is like right on the football field, look at the VIP suites and concourses, and check out the locker rooms.
The interior of Lucas Oil Stadium… (Credit: Google)
The idea of photographing the stadium was the search engine’s idea. In order to photograph the Colts’ stadium to Google Maps, the Street View team showed up on a day where no sporting events were planned and proceeded to document using two key tools: the proprietary Street View trolley, a roving pillar on wheels that has a camera mounted on top of it, and more traditional tripods used for capturing the 3D imagery.
Through the use of its Trekker camera, the Google Maps team was able to get a rather realistic view of what it’s like to be inside the stadium. “We had the stadium as most people would never get to see it,” said Rapoport. “We got to go in on an empty day. You got a feeling of what it might be be to like to own the place.”
Amazingly though, with the new imagery, you can virtually walk the tunnel and down the field toward the end zone, just like the Colts players do every season. You can also check out what it is like inside the Colts’s locker room (right), or explore the stadium’s three concourses and suites, including the Quarterback Suite, a field level suite, and a lodge-level suite.
In fact, users can access Street View by clicking a link to it following a search for Lucas Oil Stadium in Google Maps, or by dropping the orange Pegman figure onto the stadium from the map view.
A view from the stadium terrace… (Credit: Google)
Apparently, the football stadium is the latest in Google’s relentless mapping of sometimes hidden places, which follow ski resorts, the Grand Canyon, North Korea, and the Great Barrier Reef.
“We are just really, really thrilled about the level of enthusiasm that people have for Street View,” Rapoport said. “People are always asking us to bring Street View to new places, whether it is in new countries or famous places around the word.”
For those interested in checking out the stadium, they can go to Google Maps and do a search for “Lucas Oil Stadium” or “Colts Stadium”. Also, more sports venues are likely on the cards. However, getting inside requires Google to work with them individually to get permission and coordinate the shoots.