EveryScape Takes You Where Google Can't

New Web site goes beyond Google Maps by showing building interiors.

ByABC News
June 29, 2008, 9:45 PM

June 30, 2008 — -- For those who want to cruise New York's city streets without ever having to leave a computer, Google offers a service called Street View, an interactive map made up of street-level photos.

And as the Internet giant plans to use the feature to replicate the streets of major cities worldwide, one company has begun to take this technology a few steps further.

Everyscape, a Massachusetts-based startup, has recently launched an online mapping service that allows users to not only explore a neighborhood but also to go inside shops and restaurants.

With a few clicks of a mouse, users can navigate through neighborhoods and tourist sites. A special icon next to a building invites users to enter and have a look around.

"While Google has focused their technology on building a better map, we wanted to do more and replicate the experience of actually being somewhere," Everyscape chief executive Jim Schoonmaker said.

And instead of dispatching a fleet of cars to scour major cities and capture snapshots the way Google does, the company relies on independent contractors recruited through its Web site. Trained to operate specialized equipment, these "destination ambassadors" are assigned regions and are paid per mile to map. By getting locals involved, Schoonmaker hopes to "enable the world to build the world."

West Coast representative Scott Gressit has spent the last six months doing just that, driving up and down the coast of California and snapping photos from a roof-mounted camera. Despite the constant commute, he's motivated by the project's prospects and plans to expand his efforts to major cities in Arizona and Nevada.

"It's an opportunity to be part something that will eventually be a household name, just like how Google is now," Gressit said.

On top of earning $10 for every street mile he helps put on the interactive map, the San Diego resident receives a commission whenever he convinces a business to have its interiors photographed -- a task that brings what he considers easy money.