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CA’s J. Cirincione in The Appraisal Institute Valuation Magazine’s TECH BYTES

By Collateral Analytics |

The Google Street View, feature is very useful for scanning and probing the areas surrounding a subject property.  However, the process to do so isn’t as user friendly, typically involving clicking, dragging and dropping the yellow Pegman to the desired address and then repeatedly clicking and dragging the arrows on the road to continue your virtual walk down the street.

Animated Route Maps is a free navigation tool from Map Channels that simplifies the process of taking virtual tours.  It allows users to create specific routes and automatically pan through multiple side-by-side high-resolution panoramas of Google Street View combined with Bing’s Bird’s Eye Views (when available) for any point along the route.

I found Animated Route Maps to be very useful for measuring and assessing walkability scores within a neighborhood.  I was able to virtually view the walking experience and determine the time and distance required to reach schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores and stops along public transportation routes, among other destinations.

Open Animated Route Maps and enter the starting and end points for a desired route; points can be specific addresses or landmarks, such as Chicago’s Willis Tower.  Click the “play” button to view the virtual tour (which can be paused). Familiar Google Maps functions, such as zoom and 360-degree rotation, can be used along the way.  The program also allows the user to bookmark a URL to capture select snapshots, which can be added to an appraisal report.

Find Animated Route Maps and other useful Map Channels tools at

John Cirincione, SRA, is chief appraiser for Collateral Analytics, which develops real estate analytics products and tools for appraisers, financial institutions, institutional and retail investors and property capital market activities.

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