August 22, 2011

Google's Street View Takes You on an Amazon Expedition

Google (News - Alert) Street View is going down the Amazon, and by Amazon we mean the actual river, not the online retail behemoth.

In a recent blog post, Google reported that it will work in partnership with a charity called Foundation for a Sustainable Amazon (FAS). As well as using camera-equipped boats that will delve into the many tributaries of the Amazon river, Google will train local people to collect images inland, leaving equipment for the work to continue in the long term.

FAS approached Google two years ago with the hope that the visual data obtained from the project would demonstrate the fallout of deforestation and poor global sustainability on the local landscape.

The blog post also revealed what it calls a Street View trike – a camera-equipped tricycle. The post stated, “We'll pedal the Street View trike along the narrow dirt paths of the Amazon villages and maneuver it up close to where civilization meets the rainforest.”

“For many outdoor enthusiasts, travellers and environmentalists, this creates an opportunity to experience the wonders of the Amazon, which will be accessible in a way they'd previously only dreamed about,” Google said.

Earlier this year in March, Google gave Street View a bit of a makeover to make the site easier to use and give users a better understanding of what the service is all about.

The makeover includes a walkthrough, allowing users to see how the imagery is used together, where the service is available and, most importantly, a privacy tab for those who are completely paranoid.

The site originally launched with only a handful of major cities in 2007 but now covers most of North America, Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe and limited available in Japan, Indonesia and Brazil.

For those of us who like to experience travel from home, models of the vehicles Google has developed for gathering imagery, such as the trike, snowmobile and trolley, are also available in 3D.

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Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell