December 17, 2007

Providence Now Stored in Google Streetview Mainframe

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Following what was surely massive popular demand, Providence, Rhode Island is now in Google Maps' Street view feature. Like any of the people in a city hit by one of these, I was determined to figure out when the Googlecar rolled through town. Somewhere on the internet this information is available, but it is more fun to try figuring it out. It has to be somewhere between July 29 and when I took my air conditioner out of the window...

Anyhow, I haven't yet found myself or anyone I know, but I'm working on it. It seems like it was taken over a day or two, one of time that was sunny and one that was overcast-- though it could be a single very long day. The sunnier parts seem to feature a lack of parked cars, which suggest it was a weekend day...unless it was late summer, when no one was doing anything. The banners for the Red Bull Soap Box Derby which took place October 13th are up, so it cannot have been much later than that. I don't think there is any non-obsessive way to figure out how long those things were up, but I don't remember them around when I moved in August 22nd. July 29th, when Blue State Coffee opened is the absolute earliest it could be, since there are obviously people going in.

And then I realized that you can read the bill on the Avon. Since the "Jane Austen Book Club" opened there on Friday, October 5th and ran there by itself for at least a week before being joined by another film that constrains it pretty well. Especially since the PPAC has a sign for the comedian Brian Regan who performed on the 7th (and even gives the then current time and temperature, 8:43 AM and 52 degrees). At that time there would be a lot more people on the downtown streets if it were a weekday, and the mayor's car would certainly be next to City Hall. So that narrows it down to the mornings of Oct 6th or 7th. Since there are weddings getting out at the Unitarian church and the synagogue next to Brown Stadium, that means it was Sunday for the East Side (since Jewish weddings cannot take place on Saturday during daylight).

Sunday October 7th, 2007! QED

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Update: Thanks to George in the comments for the tip about Jewish wedding rules, I originally had it on Saturday.



Investigation or obsessive, I'm not sure. However, the process is fascinating and if you ever decide to get out of the science business, you may want to become a P.I. Just a thought, though ... I'm pretty sure that Jewish weddings don't occur between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday, so the wedding at the synagogue may mean it is another day of the week.

(Ryan) said...

Ahh, you are right about that. I had been a little uneasy about that point. Thanks!

I don't know if it is obsessiveness, but it is certainly hard to put it down when it's a city you live in and know so well.