The grand chandelier of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, still lit, dangles inches above the murky water. Ivy winds around the Walker Center, rising high above the tall grasses jutting through the cracks in Main Street. The Salt Lake City skyline, silent and dark, disappears behind a wall of leafs.
Mayor Ralph Becker always was encouraging the city to go green.
Now you can see this flavor of post-apocalypse, when nature retakes urban America, thanks to a new hack of Google Street View. The hack, Urban Jungle, uses Street View’s depth data to plant the vegetation as realistically as it can in the 3-dimensional space. The transformation isn’t perfect — sometimes leafs hang in mid-air — but Swedish developer Einar Oberg did an impressive job turning the world’s cities into the kind of post-apocalypse you might find in “I Am Legend” or “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”
Once you plug in a location, you simply click and drag an Indiana Jones stick figure (complete with a fear of snakes) to wherever you want to see the green overtaking humanity’s attempts at shaping the world. As you might expect, Liberty Park appears to turn into a nigh-impenetrable jungle — which seems to be slowly starting to happen over here at The Salt Lake Tribune building, yet not nearly so much at KSL Broadcast House. You win this time, competition.
— Michael McFall