SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Even though it's 2013, Sesha Smith is a pioneer. She's helping put the city on a new kind of map -- a Google Map, that is.
"I am horrible with directions, so it is always great to plug it in and just let it take me there," said Smith, a local photographer who is also a Google Trusted Photographer.
Years ago, Google paved the way with its Google Maps and Street View. The tools provide a virtual look at the world.
"You can put in the address and find out the neighborhood that it is in and what's surrounding," Smith said.
Google photographers have logged millions of miles of streets and highway across the nation and world. Now they are taking us from the outside and bringing us to the inside.
"To be able to just walk in and virtually have a looky-loo around was invaluable," said Mary Collette, owner of the Historic Firehouse Event Center on Commerical Street.
Collette is going high tech to promote her historic event venue. She's one of the first in Springfield to join Google Business tours, a new frontier that allows online visitors to tour businesses along routes included on Google Maps.
"Its not the same as seeing them in person, but it sure give you a sense of what it feels like," Collett said.
On Wednesday, Smith was capturing the sights that'll be turned into the virtual tour of Collette's business.
"It's so great just to be able to show the atmosphere, especially for restaurants and salons, and dealerships," said Smith. "When a guy is taking a girl out on a date, you want to know what you are getting into and what atmosphere is going to be like in there."
Right now, fewer than 20 businesses have signed up to be a part of the program.
"The opportunity to invite people in online- it just seemed like a natural for this space," Collette said.
Collete said it takes about one month for Google to process and add her new images to its website.
Google says it will only include interior views of businesses that agree to be a part of the program. Homes, which already have exteriors displayed on Google Maps, won't be photographed from the inside, and are not allowed in the Business Photos program.