Imagine this scenario: You are a motor vehicle accident lawyer. You have a conference tomorrow involving an accident that took place at an intersection clear across the state. You realize you need photos of the intersection. What can you do?
One option is to track down and hire a photographer and pay for a rush job to get the photo shot and sent to you. The better option might be to use StreetDelivery, a Web site that provides access to a database of nearly 10 million digital photographs of intersections throughout the United States.
All of these photographs are shot at ground level from a driver’s perspective. Each high-resolution photograph is stamped with the specific location, showing the direction and the names of the intersecting streets. Photographs are delivered either in JPG or PDF format. Customers can save the photographs to their computers and e-mail, print and enlarge them.
If the site does not have photos of the intersection, parking lot, driveway or roadway you need, you can submit a request for the photo and have it delivered to you by the next business day. The only limit to this is that the request must be within the site’s coverage area.
Currently, the database of intersection photos covers most of the East Coast from Florida to Maine, all of Arizona, California and Texas, and the Chicago metropolitan area. Over the coming months, additional locations will be added, including Las Vegas and Reno in Nevada and all of Tennessee and Kentucky.
The site also includes a diagramming tool (see picture) that replicates any requested intersection. Use drag-and-drop icons to diagram the accident scene. You can then print or e-mail the diagram along with the photos.
The site employs a special pricing format for solo and small-firm lawyers of $109 per request. For that price, you get the high-resolution photo and use of the diagramming tool. But here is an added benefit: If the company’s response to a request is insufficient — either because it does not have the precise location or because it does not have the precise view — it will send someone out to take the photo you need and deliver it the next day, for no extra cost.
For this price, the company does not permit lawyers to directly search its database. Instead, they must log-in to the company’s site and fill out a data request. The company then sends the photograph by e-mail. A company representative told me that the e-mail is usually sent within minutes of the request, provided the requested photo is in the database.
For institutional clients — primarily insurance companies and some larger law firms — the company does provide direct Web access on a subscription basis. These institutional clients can log in and directly search for and select photographs. The company would not tell me its pricing for these institutional plans.
Compared to what it would cost for a lawyer to get these photos through an investigator or photographer and the time it would take, this strikes me as a good value at $109.