Google’s Street View spots gas leaks in the United States

Google’s Street View cars have been successful when it comes to travelling the roads of the world, capture millions of images and mapping out almost every roadway in the world, continuing to update these images every few years.

In a move to make Google’s cars even more useful to governments, some of the Street View cars have added specialised sensors, capable of sniffing out gas leaks in the areas Staten Island, Boston, and Indianapolis.

Google attached these sensors after hearing about ageing infrastructure and old piping, potentially leading to gas leaks. Methane, from these leaks, is an explosive material and causes pollution, setting off environmental standards.


The Street View cars took 15 million images of the areas, the issues hold true, as the Google map shows. In Boston, Google captured hundreds of spots, but Indianapolis fared better in the testing.

Google used wind sensors to approximate how much gas had leaked from the different areas. The map shows different colors, red indicating more and yellow indicating less gas in the air.

The Environmental Defense Fund worked with Google on this project and according to Fred Krupp, the head of EDF, they will continue to partner with Google to get a larger scale look at pollution from poor infrastructure.

This could push companies and factories to implement cleaner technologies and fix piping – something the Boston area seems slow to fix, potentially due to the economy in Boston not being at its peak.

Google’s Street View moves around 54 countries currently and the EDF could see the potential to move outside the United States, in order to get a look at other countries standards, when it comes to infrastructure and environment.

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