Posted:
The days are getting longer in Canada’s Arctic. The sea ice is breaking up, Arctic heather is poking through the snow-covered tundra and the arrival of the migratory snow bunting is days away. Summer is right around the corner. And today, in close collaboration with Parks Canada, we’re thrilled to share a glimpse of Canada’s Northern National Parks and the high north’s breathtaking summer season through the lens of Street View and Google Maps.

These are some of Canada’s most remote National Parks. In spite of challenges posed by this vast geography, the far north also presented a unique opportunity. For example, Ivvavik National Park looks as bright and sunny as midday. But Parks Canada operators were collecting this imagery close to midnight, taking advantage of the far north’s endless summer days.

Virtual visitors can marvel at the sweeping glaciers and dramatic fjords of Auyuittuq, discover the British Mountains and the Firth River Valley in Ivvavik, and immerse themselves in Tuktut Nogait’s stunning canyons and waterfalls along the rugged Brock River.

And, not to be missed, be sure to check out the spectacular towering peaks of the Torngat Mountains, the grandeur of Canada's only salt plains and take a Street View stroll in the historic Sweetgrass bison corrals of Wood Buffalo National Park – Canada’s largest national park.

Ivvavik National Park protects a portion of the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. Some of the imagery from Ivvavik was collected as late as 11pm.

From the Inuktitut word Torngait, meaning “place of spirits,” the Torngat Mountains have been home to Inuit and their predecessors for thousands of years.

Overlooking La Roncière Falls in Tuktut Nogait National Park and the Hornaday River’s awe-inspiring canyons and waterfalls.
Auyuittuq National Park images were gathered primarily from the water. The Street View Trekker was positioned on a boat which sailed along the park's coastline.

Since starting work together in 2013, Parks Canada and Google have collected imagery from over a hundred of Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. Our work in the north, however, is not finished and we look forward to connecting Canadians and the world to more of our country’s majestic northern national parks in the near future.

In the meantime, enjoy a trip north on Google Maps... the Arctic summer sun is not going down on these amazing Street View images anytime soon.

Posted:

On April 27, 1994, Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa in the country’s first democratic, post-Apartheid election. Known now as “Freedom Day,” that date has become a symbol of hope in South Africa and around the world. To commemorate this historic day, we’ve partnered with the Robben Island Museum and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to bring the story of this UNESCO World Heritage Site online for the world to explore. The Maps gallery and Cultural Institute online tour allow people everywhere to see the island where Nelson Mandela and many of South Africa’s freedom fighters were imprisoned during their quest for equality.

As a symbol of South Africa’s struggle for freedom, Robben Island has become a destination for people to connect with Mandela and other freedom fighters. Standing in Mandela’s 8 x 7 foot prison cell, it's hard to believe someone could spend 18 years here. Exploring the historical artifacts on the tour, you can also see photographs of his cell during the time of his imprisonment. You can imagine Mandela sitting at the cramped desk, surrounded by books and papers, working towards a future of freedom for all.



Robben Island was also where activist Robert Sobukwe was imprisoned, kept in solitary confinement for more than three years after taking a stand against the Pass Law, which required black citizens to carry an internal passport and severely limited their mobility. Exploring Sobukwe’s home on Robben Island, you can learn more about the man who didn’t let prison halt his attempts to make equality a reality. You can even view the pages of his notebook, which is still kept on his desk today.



In the new online exhibitions on the Cultural Institute platform, you can also listen to prisoners’ personal anecdotes about life at this infamous prison, including memories of where they were forced to work as well as how they studied and came together to create a unified vision for freedom in South Africa. You can see some personal items donated by former political prisoners, including a football trophy from the their FIFA-recognized league, hand-drawn table tennis awards, a treasured trumpet, and a duplicate master key fashioned by a prisoner from lead.



Once a symbol of the oppressive Apartheid regime, Robben Island is now a memorial and a reminder of the human spirit’s irrepressible search for freedom. We hope you’ll take a moment to step back in time to explore and be inspired by the island’s story of hope and humanity.

Posted:

Like the world’s best legends, the Loch Ness Monster transcends the everyday and exists at the edges of possibility. It rises above the sightings and the hoaxes; the claims and counter-claims; the tourism, the nationalism—and even the assassination plots. It lives in the telling of stories. Whether or not you believe, most people hold a romanticized vision of the creature that, legend has it, plumbs the depths of the Loch. Affectionately known as “Nessie,” she exists in folklore, dances in childrens’ imaginations, and seeps into our society and teachings, inspiring everything from pop music to pop culture to pulp fiction.



In 1934, the “Surgeon’s Photograph” was released, claiming to show the monster in the misty waters of the lake. It’s the most iconic photo in the history of Loch Ness—and may be one of the most elaborate hoaxes of our age. Today, to celebrate the anniversary of its release, we're bringing 360-degree Street View imagery of Loch Ness to Google Maps, so you can go in search of Nessie yourself.



Sail across the freshwater lake and take in its haunting beauty, made darker still by the peat particles found in its waters. Let the Loch unlock the spirit of your imagination, where the rippling water, tricks of the light, and drifting logs bring the legend of Nessie to life. Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness & Morar Project, has been engaged in fieldwork in the Highlands since 1973 and was an integral part of the Street View collection. As a true Loch Ness expert, Shine has logged more than 1,000 Nessie sightings and offers scientific explanations for why people claim to have seen Scotland’s mysterious cryptid.


Formed of a series of interrelated bodies of water, including the River Oich to the south and the Bona Narrows to the north, Loch Ness stretches for 23 miles southwest of Inverness. Although it’s neither the largest Scottish loch by surface area nor depth, it is the largest by volume, containing more freshwater than all the lakes of England and Wales combined. And at almost 800 feet deep, there’s an entire world below the surface, giving rise to the Nessie legend.


To take you on a tour of what lies beneath, our partners at the Catlin Seaview Survey dived deep under the surface of the lake, collecting imagery along the way. You can imagine Nessie nestling within these dark, peat-filled waters, waiting for the right moment to breach the surface into the Scottish sunlight above.

A diver from the Catlin Seaview Survey collecting underwater imagery of Loch Ness

Wherever you stand on the Nessie debate, the legend lives on—even in the digital era. There are more searches for Loch Ness than there are for other U.K. institutions like Buckingham Palace and the Peak District. And as we celebrate Loch Ness with today’s Doodle, we hope you can enjoy some of the most history-laden and breathtaking imagery the highlands have to offer with Street View in Google Maps.

By Sven Tresp, Program Manager, Street View Special Collections

Posted:

Over the years, we’ve updated Google Maps to make it more accurate, comprehensive and useful.
From imagery of the coffee shop down the road to the Taj Mahal, or turn-by-turn navigation that helps you get to your first date on time or find your way to a famous landmark...we’ve worked hard to give people the best possible experience of the world around them. And today we’re introducing our most ambitious update yet: PAC-Maps.



With local place information and Street View, it’s easier than ever before to find where you’re going but there’s never been anything to let you know where *not* to go. With this update, we’ve added imagery of dangerous virtual beings, starting with Pinky, Blinky, Inky and Clyde. When navigating fruit-filled streets, determine at a glance which turns to pass to evade ghosts and get where you’re going safely. When you’re feeling a bit peckish, you can simply gobble up a few pac-dots or a cherry and keep on nommin'. PAC-Maps makes navigating around select locations as simple as left, right, up or down.



Experience all the benefits of #PACMaps on desktop and on the latest version of Google Maps on Android and iOS. This is just the beginning, so stay tuned for more Maps fun such as zombie incident alerts and intergalactic Street View. Oh, and be sure to check out what our friends at Ingress are up to. It looks like PAC-MAN chomped his way over to the real-world!

Posted:
Since growing up near Ulm, Germany, close to where the Danube begins its epic journey from The Black Forest southeast to the Black Sea, I’ve been captivated by the majesty of the river we knew as Donau. The Danube has woven countries and cultures together for thousands of years; it has been a catalyst for economic development, a pathway for migration, and an inspiration for works of art and classical music.

Starting today, you can cruise this international waterway with Street View in Google Maps, sailing through six countries, three capitals, and enjoying many arresting landscapes along the way. To capture the imagery, the Trekker was mounted on the riverboat ms Treasures, operated by Tauck, and Scylla, its maritime partner, for cruises along the Danube and other European rivers.

Your virtual boat ride begins in Bratislava, Slovakia, where at the top of the hill, you can see Bratislava Castle. Originally settled during the Bronze Age (around 3500 BC), the castle remains a dominant sight in the area, fixed at a crucial trade point on the Danube.


Steering the ship through Hungary, the shoreline is crowded with sights of downtown Budapest. Whether you’re gazing at the famous Chain Bridge by night or the Hungarian parliament by day, the views from the boat dock will not disappoint.


On the riverbank of Croatia sits Vukovar, an old baroque city with breathtaking architecture. The Franciscan Monastery and the Church of St. Philip and Jacob overlook the city, peering down at the waters of the Danube.

The natural landscapes along the Danube and the views of the river itself may be the real highlight of the journey—try drifting through the Cazanele Mari area in Romania, where more than a third of the Danube’s waterways weave, or the Krcedinska Ada area in Serbia, where the water seems to come alive with reflections from the sky above and the terrain on either side of the riverway.

Then onwards to Bulgaria, where the Danube acts as a bordering line with neighboring Romania. The bridges that connect Bulgaria and Romania are believed to be among the shortest ways to reach Western Europe from the East.


Growing up close to the drainage basin of this great river, whenever I visit a city along the Danube it’s easy to feel connected not just to my hometown but also to everything in between. That’s why I find it even more exciting to connect all the pieces on Street View, follow the river all the way, and see what a grown-up and majestic river “my” little Danube from Ulm becomes when it flows into the Black Sea.

Hopefully you too will enjoy this journey down the Danube on Street View in Google Maps.

Posted by Ulf Spitzer, Product Manager, Google Maps Street View