Mexico: Viewing Mexican Streets with Google

On November 9th, Mexicans welcomed the afternoon filled with images: Google Street View, the service that takes high-quality photographs at the street level for major cities of the world, was released for Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and other 5 Mexican cities. At the same time, some of those cities were updated with important informational layers, such as public transport routes, as well as locations for hospitals, movie theatres, and museums.

Early this year several users recognized Google’s car, equipped with camera that takes 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic photos. Mexico is the first Latin American country to have its streets digitally mapped, which nowadays includes many cities of United States and Canada, as well as countries from Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

Street View in Google Maps México

Street View in Google Maps México

Mexicans showed mostly positive reactions to the service, although some expressed natural concerns for their privacy. User hekma expressed on Twitter [es]:

Mi jefe vio Google street View en Mexico y comenzo a tener panico… demasiado diria yo…

My boss saw Google street View on Mexico and started to panic… too much I would say…

Another common first reaction to the service is to look for someone's house or office. Twitter user Rafaesp [es] did this and found his mother in front of his house:

Orales, en la foto de mi casa de Google Street View Mexico, sale mi madre recibiendo una notificacion para mi del IEDF… .

Wow, the picture of my house in Google Street View Mexico shows my mother receiving a notification for me from the Electoral Institute of the Federal District… .

Twitter user avomx considers [es] that the images of Street View unintentionally make a social commentary:

Muy buena herramienta, pero como que se ven feitas las paredes grafiteadas y las calles llenas de baches ¬_¬

Very good tool, but streets seem ugly with the graffiti on walls and filled with potholes ¬_¬

User mexico_df also perceived a contrast [es] of the living conditions of the Mexicans:

Con google maps Mexico view street puedes ver algunos contrastes de nuestra ciudad casas de cartón y residencias inimaginables. Interesante

With google maps Mexico view street you can see some contrasts in our city cardboard dwellings (sic) and unthinkable residences. Interesting

Few days after its release, users were already developing useful projects with one of the most frequent uses of Google Street View: virtual tours. The blogger that is known as Juan Crouset provides historical details of the city of Monterrey in his posts [es], and has taken Street View to guide his readers [es] through old constructions. This makes an interesting contrast with his regular contributions that usually are supported with historical documents and photographs. A sample of his work:

Ver mapa más grande

Juan Alvarez con Guadalupe Victoria, colonia Industrial. Muy cerca de la central de autobuses. Casa de influencia americana, probablemente construida para trabajadores de alguna empresa cercana. Muchas construcciones que se cubrieron originalmente con techos de lámina, se encuentran en muy buenas condiciones gracias a la excelente capacidad de los techos de metal para evitar la filtración de humedad, ésto a pesar de encontrarse abandonadas algunas de ellas.

[Street] Juan Alvarez with Guadalupe Victoria, Industrial neighborhood. Very close to the bus station. A house with American influences, probably constructed for workers of some nearby business. Much of the constructions that were originally covered with aluminum ceilings are in very good conditions due to the properties of metal ceilings to avoid humidity filtering, albeit the abandonment of some of them.

Several newspapers have already made coverage of the service, including collections of images that show urban decay in Mexico City [es].


  • […] stad op Google Street View. Uiteraard levert dat min of meer dezelfde reacties op als elders: hoe zit het met de privacy? Staat mijn moeder er op? Meer nog dan op veel andere plekken is in de Mexicaanse miljoenenstad duidelijk het verschil tussen […]

  • jaime

    i was surprised to see that the last photo from the “urban decay in mexico city” article you mention is a spot which is 2 blocks away from where i live.

    that corner is “famous” here in the neighborhood for being a gathering place for “chemos” (those who sniff resistol 5000 glue to get high), and it was possible to see it in street view. but right now i have searched for it again and it’s banned! “this image is not longer available”

    who you think has asked for this image to be removed? mexico city government, google maps, or the owners of an luxury apartments building which is in construction in front of this corner?

    • Probably all together. It is funny how the purpose of Google Maps is show around the city through the eyes of a pedestrian, but without the raw details.

      It’s a difficult task since 1) they have to take the pictures with daylight; 2) like their cities, streets never sleep.

      As far as I know, those details are the city.

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