streetviewSouth Africa prepare yourself for an invasion of a different type. The Google Maps Street View South Africa project launches today. That hideous monstrosity on the right is the Toyota Prius that over the next months will be peeking over your twelve foot walls to help criminals check on the location of your 46inch Bravia.

No doubt this development is due to that little World Cup 2010 thing that is happening next year, but damn the footage is gonna look terrible and be mostly useless considering the state of construction our country is in. Looking for Rosebank Gautrain station? That’s it – behind the pillars of concrete and the zinc walling. Nelspruit Stadium? It looks like an empty piece of land to me… Well, you get the idea.

Anyway, from the marketing schpiel:

Top 10 Street View tips for users

  1. Explore parts of the world you’ve always wanted to visit – see famous areas, tourist attractions; buildings and architecture. Or reminisce about places you’ve visited and give recommendations to friends about where to stay and how to get there.
  2. Preview your holiday accommodation. How close is it from transport and amenities, or the beach?
  3. Show your overseas or faraway friends and family where you live; where you work; where you had a picnic; where your local drycleaner is.
  4. Can’t remember the name of that amazing restaurant or clothes store you visited a few months ago? Walk the streets and find it. And then use the driving directions in Google Maps, with Street View images of intersections and landmarks, to get there.
  5. Use Street View to study the geography, vegetation and landscape of different parts of the world. Teachers can incorporate Street View, Google Maps and Google Earth into lesson plans or arrange a virtual fieldtrip.
  6. Plan your day virtually – show your party guests where the venue is, or teammates where the weekend sportsground is. Arrange meeting spots with friends. Plan bike trips and walking routes.
  7. If you’re looking to buy or rent a property, make a more informed decision by taking a virtual walk-through of the area and property you’re interested in. Save time by not going to home-opens that don’t meet your criteria.
  8. Moving to a new area? Look at nearby amenities such as parks, roads, bus stops, shopping areas and parking when planning your move.
  9. Helpers and carers can search for buildings which provide wheelchair access, or avoid steps by checking out what a building looks like.
  10. Does your child have to walk to or from school? Plan their journey, show them local landmarks and look over the walking route together. Or see where their school fieldtrip is taking place.

Well, when they put it like that, I guess it sounds pretty cool. More here.