I am looking for more affordable equipment that would allow me to recreate the concept of Google's Streetview, as well as software that would make a comparable UI map (without it "belonging" to Google, ie. not having everything available via Google Earth). What I would like to create are scientific maps along rivers, streams, and wetlands, with sampling data (temp., PH, TDS, dissolved oxygen...) available to the user along the path in various increments. Essentially I am looking for camera equipment that can take 360° shots, that can record the images with X,Y values that can be input to a digital map and brought up on screen the way Street View looks. I know this is more of an digital imaging question, but it will be set up through a GIS system for user interface. Thanks!
Have a look at Mapillary I think they share the same goals as you and they are making this possible. I have not used it yet (no time) but it looks like a good option to StreetView.
The How to Do it is here and it looks like they will make all the data and images available to developers via an api.
The quoted terms are:
API Usage We allow the use of our API under the following conditions. Non-commercial use and small scale use for early demos and prototypes are free of charge. Commercial use of the API and Mapillary data requires an agreement with Mapillary. Any use of the API requires attribution. You need to clearly display that Mapillary is the source and link to mapillary.com
They do not specify what constitutes Commercial Use ..
They class themselves as a mapping application so the question is most likely relevant here