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This book did Google Street View ... in 1907

Street view, before it was cool (and before computers).
Street view, before it was cool (and before computers).
David Rumsey

More than a century before Google Street View's 2008 debut, one book anticipated the need for pictures with your directions.

The David Rumsey Collection provides this copy of Gardner S. Chapin and Arthur Schumacher's 1907 book Photo Auto Maps, which promises "Photographs of every turn."

Though the book suggests that drivers rely on the included topographic maps, the real hook is the turn-by-turn driving familiar to anybody who's used GPS. It guides drivers through the Northeast and as far as Chicago with helpful turn-by-turn directions. There are even arrows pointing you down the right road.

Instructions like this one, for example, take a driver through New York City:

A Photo Auto Map in New York

A Photo Auto Map in New York.

David Rumsey

The coolest thing about this Google Street View antecedent? The slider below shows that "photo auto maps" look a lot like what we use today.


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