Google Street View images

I'm not entirely sure how I should cite a street view image from Google Maps. It is an image rather than a map, so I think this is what I've come up with for my full reference note:

505 Hayes Avenue, Helena, Montana; digital image, June 2012, “Street View,” GoogleMaps ( : accessed 29 August 2015).

It includes the date the photo was taken, according to Google, along with the day I accessed the image. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


Submitted byyhoitinkon Sun, 08/30/2015 - 16:00

While our dear editor is away on a cruise, let me see if I can give you some help. You seem to have all the elements you need to find the image again, but unless you know the website it is not easy to see what type of item 505 Hayes Avenue, Helena, Montana actually is, besides that you accessed it as a digital image. I suggest indicating that it is a photo of the location.

While browsing EE, one model that seems to fit is the online image of a Find a Grave memorial. p. 216 (EE 3rd ed.) has a QuickCheck model that first describes the database and then the item of interest. I think that would work well here too.

You have two dates in your citation: the creation date and the access date. We typically only cite the access date if we don't know the creation or publication date. It is no problem to include extra information in your research notes, but the double date may be confusing to others. Because these dates can be confusing, it would be helpful to include what sort of date June 2012 is, so I would suggest including a word like "taken" to explain the meaning of that date.

Finally, you named the website GoogleMaps, but the website itself uses Google Maps. In citations, it's customary to include the creator, although the creator may be dropped if it creates redundancy. Since the creator is Google, not Google Maps, I think I would include it. 

My own suggestion would be:

Google, "Streetview," digital images, Google Maps (, photograph of 505 Hayes Avenue, Helena, Montana, taken June 2012.

I look forward to hearing other opinions.

Submitted byyhoitinkon Sun, 08/30/2015 - 16:03

Hmm, I used a blockquote to indent, but that also italicized everything. 

Attempt no. 2:

Google, "Streetview," digital images, Google Maps (, photograph of 505 Hayes Avenue, Helena, Montana, taken June 2012.

I can understand why having two dates could be confusing, but if the view date follows the URL, as in ( : viewed 8 September 2015), wouldn't that clarify things? Especially since Google images seem to change frequently.

I agree that this is also an elegant solution. I think that's how I would use it in my own research notes, and would shorten it by leaving out the access dates when publishing. 

Submitted byNancy Cordellon Sun, 08/30/2015 - 18:34


Thank you. I appreciate the excellent points you make. I can see now that the double dates without explanation would be confusing.


Submitted byEEon Sun, 09/06/2015 - 10:45

Nancy, you've flagged a source that will be increasingly cited, as history researchers discover the importance of pegging their subjects to a specific piece of ground. Thanks, Yvette, for stepping in and handling the query so well.

Submitted byACProctoron Sun, 01/24/2016 - 10:01

This may not be relevant to the original question, but still of some related interest as an alternative.

For online content, such as a blog-post rather than a printed page, then the inclusion of Google Maps or street-views can be done in another way -- one different to a static image plus a citation.

Google encourages the inclusion of "active" maps and street-views (i.e. ones that can be interacted with) using an HTML iframe element. I won't go into any technical detail here but an article on making use of this feature in Blogger can be found at

This mechanism does not use a static image, and does not even take a copy of anything from the referenced Web site; it embeds a link to the site into your online page that causes a miniature "browser view" of the site to be invoked when your page is accessed.

Because it is wholly different to using someone's image, and it is the target site that is cooperating with your page, then I would argue that a formal citation is inappropriate. However, I would attribute the view to Google in the associated caption, even though the Google logo and copyright are clearly visible in that view.