Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Google Street View hits the Amazon

Tue, 23/08/2011
Source: Spatial SourceLink

Google has extended the coverage of its Street View program – which allows Google Maps viewers the ability too look at a street as if they were standing on it – to the Amazon River.

The project started when Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS) approached Google Earth hoping to turn Street View into a view of the Amazon Basin, in the hopes of spreading awareness of the issues of climate change, deforestation, and poverty.

The 360º cameras are usually mounted on top of cars, but, for this project, they are being pulled along by pedal-power trikes.

There will be two trikes in action; one sits atop a boat, capturing the view from the river, while the other will be ridden through riverside communities.

One of the trikes will also be used to capture rainforest walks as it moves along rainforest trails.

Beyond creating awareness of the area, FAS hopes that the Google project will show that people can live in harmony with the rain forest, and also help promote eco-tourism in the area.

"We want the world to see that the Amazon is not a place only with plants and animals," said FAS chief executive Virgilio Viana told the Associated Press.

"It is also a place with people, and people who are not completely at odds with the current thinking of global sustainability."

"People have learned how to live here for centuries," Viana said. "In a way, this partnership with Google is a window that opens for us to show that there is a solution."

"Deforestation is not the result of stupidity," he went on. "It is an economic decision; so we have to make people earn money with the forest standing."

Eco-tourism along with forest and fishery management are being pursued as ways to support local communities without destroying rain forest, according to Viana.

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