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Google Street View Coming to Ellicottville

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Photographers Arrive Dec. 9 to Capture Village

By Eva Potter

Ellicottville is already on the map with its famous slopes, great shopping, fabulous restaurants and lively nightlife, but this small village is about to receive a big boost from Google Maps when Google Trusted Photographers arrive to update and photograph new images of Ellicottville’s streets and businesses for future visitors to see.

On Tuesday, Dec. 9, PlaceMobile Inc., creators of virtual visitor’s guides, will be in Ellicottville to photograph Ellicottville from a Street View perspective. The images will be used on Google Maps, a popular online mapping site that provides street maps, satellite images, Street View panoramas and travel routes.

This family-owned company has created more than 1,000 virtual tours across the Northeast and other markets across the country, and they have been on Google’s Trusted Photographers list since 2012, when the program went live. Photographers are usually invited by Google to participate.

Why are they coming to Ellicottville?

Adam Hilker, a senior executive with PlaceMobile Inc., said, “We chose Ellicottville because of the prior shoots we have done in the area and also that it is a nice ski town.”

PlaceMobile creates virtual tours from a Google Street View perspective, as well as interior 360-degree shoots, like a tour they created for Holiday Valley and Ellicottville Brewing Company.

Hilker said, “The process of the photo shoot usually only takes about 30 minutes for a small ‘main’ street style business and longer for larger complexes. We focus primarily on the interiors of local businesses, but we do capture your town using aerial 360 photography.”

Hilker said their photographic equipment isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Mainly, they use a couple cameras with wide-angle fish-eye lenses on tripods to capture a 360-degree panorama.

“Then after (we photograph) that, we will use Google’s server and program to ‘stitch’ and produce and moderate the images on Google Maps,” he explained.

Ellicottville business owners: Here is your chance to make a great first impression.

“We usually ask the towns we visit to make sure that they have everything how they want it to look on Google Maps,” Hilker said. “This may be the only time for several years that we make this stop, so make it a good one.”

And, they couldn’t have chosen a better time to capture the magic of Ellicottville, adorned with lights, festive decorations and captivating storefront windows decorated for the holidays.

As for inside views, businesses whose interiors are photographed can show their customers a 360-degree inside view. You can experience an example of this by taking Holiday Valley’s virtual. Visit www.googlemaps.com and search for “Holiday Valley Ellicottville NY.” Once the page pulls up, you can click on the photo labeled “inside view” to take a tour. Just use the compass on the right to rotate your view. It’s easy and it’s fun to get a sneak peek into places you might like to visit on your next trip to Ellicottville.

If you are an interested business that would like to work with PlaceMobile, you can contact them at www.placesmobile.com/google-business-views to receive more information.

The cost starts at $360, which Hilker said “will usually get all of a small, main street-style business.”

Currently, many of Google Maps’ Street View images of Ellicottville date back to 2008. The village has changed so much since then, and soon visitors to Ellicottville will get an updated view at the village’s charming streets and business on Google Maps.

Hilker said, “This should all be live within a couple weeks after we finish up on next Tuesday.”

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