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Google Captures the Amazon for Street View

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Google’s 360-degree Street View cameras will be mounted atop two tricycles with another on a boat to give a unique view of the world’s second-longest river. (Photo: Stock.xchng)
Google’s 360-degree Street View cameras will be mounted atop two tricycles with another on a boat to give a unique view of the world’s second-longest river. (Photo: Stock.xchng)

BUSINESS

  • Google heads to northwest Brazil to photograph the Amazon and Rio Negro rivers to include them in Street View
  • Foundation for a Sustainable Amazon suggested idea to highlight effects of poor global sustainability initiatives
  • Locals to do navigating; photo equipment will be left behind with local communities

Google has taken to boat and bicycle in order to bring the Amazon to Street View. The internet company will photograph the Amazon and Rio Negro rivers in northwest Brazil as part of its plan to include some of the world’s most remote destinations in its virtual globetrotting service.

The photographs will be stitched together to create panoramic images that will transport internet users into the surrounds of the Amazon.

Google’s 360-degree Street View cameras will be mounted atop two tricycles with another on a boat to give a unique view of the world’s second longest river. Locals will be employed to do the navigating.

In a post on its blog site, Google said: "We will pedal the Street View trike along the narrow dirt paths of the Amazon villages and manoeuvre it up close to where civilization meets the rainforest. We will also mount it onto a boat to take photographs as the boat floats down the river."

Promoting Eco-Tourism

The initiative is a partnership between Google and the Foundation for a Sustainable Amazon (FAS) charity.

Two years ago, FAS put the proposition to Google to promote eco-tourism and raise awareness of the damaging effects of badly managed global sustainability programs and deforestation in the Amazon basin.

"It is very important to show the world not only the environment and the way of life of the traditional population, but to sensitize the world to the challenges of climate change, deforestation and combating poverty,” FAS project leader Gabriel Ribenboim said in a statement.

This new Street View adventure is unfamiliar ground for Google, and not just geographically speaking. The 360-degree surveillance equipment was originally intended for use on smooth roads and paths, not uneven dirt tracks and flowing rivers.

During its trip to the Amazon, Google will also take images from inside local schools and community centers to show how people live throughout the region. The equipment will be left with the locals so they can continue adding images of the river and rainforests after Google staff leave.

Street View is a part of Google Maps, a popular online navigation service that it launched in 2007. The Amazon River view is one of many recent updates that Google has added to Maps; a new weather layer was also added but so far has not been a hit with users.

Key Players – Online Mapping Providers

  • Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, Bing Maps, Mappy (Pages Jaunes), MapQuest, Via Michelin, Rand McNally, AAA Maps

By James Mulholland for
James Mulholland is a Paris-based internet and broadcast journalist specializing in sports, current affairs and technology news, while also freelancing as a photographer.

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