Google Maps recently rolled out its new Street Level View service in Richmond, the first city in the Commonwealth to get it. Believe it or not, a Volkswagen Beetle outfitted with a 11-camera apparatus covered hundreds of miles in the Richmond area last fall to capture street-level photos of a large portion of the metropolitan area, literally snapping hundreds of thousands of pictures of entire neighborhoods.

Here’s how it works. Go to Google.com/maps and enter a street address in the Richmond area. Here’s a search for 10231 Telegraph Road, home of the VAR offices. A dialog box pops up and you can actually see a small thumbnail of the street level view on the search results page. As in the picture below:

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Then, if you click that thumbnail, you’ll open up a larger window that you can use to navigate around the area. For a sample of the level of detail you can get, here’s a zoomed in shot of the VAR sign in front of our offices:

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As long as you are in street view mode in Google Maps, anywhere you see a blue outline on the street, a street level view is available. Now your clients can show themselves around the neighborhood before deciding whether or not to look at a house. That could be one fewer showing to enter into VAR’s ideal route mapping tool!