Explore the geysers and waterfalls of Iceland on Google Maps

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 1:00 AM

In his book Tales of Iceland, Stephen Markley wrote, “The problem with driving around Iceland is that you’re basically confronted by a new soul-enriching, breath-taking, life-affirming natural sight every five... minutes. It’s totally exhausting.” We've never been ones to take someone else's word for it when it comes to sightseeing, so we took Street View to some of the most stunning locations throughout the country. As it turns out, Markley was right...and now with Street View, you can take a journey through Iceland to explore these beautiful places too.

We started with Iceland's "Golden Circle," a famous loop in the southern part of the country. Here’s a look at the famous Gullfoss Waterfall on the Hvítá river in the south west of the country. The average amount of water crashing over the falls can reach as much as 140 cubic meters/second at its summertime peak.

Then, we made the trek to what’s known locally as “Geysir,” or the Haukadalur Geothermal Area. Our cameras snapped footage of Strokkur, which routinely erupts every five to 10 minutes, and the bigger Geysir, which is largely dormant now but used to erupt several times a day. Interestingly, this is the geyser that lent its name to the phenomenon in many languages.

We’ve also captured beautiful heritage sites including Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður, a national park, and the UNESCO site Þingvellir, a place of great historical, cultural and geological importance. Iceland's Parliament, Alþingi, was established on this site in the year 930, and in 1930 the national park was established to protect the remains.

And the wonders don’t stop there. Gaze at Dettifoss, a waterfall situated in the Vatnajökull National Park and said to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe, or explore Kerið, the perfect volcanic crater lake.

So start your virtual exploration now—and it's OK if, like Markley, exhaustion sets in and you need to take a nap in the middle. We—and Iceland's astonishing natural beauty—will be waiting.

Take a college road trip with Street View

Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Whether you’re a college applicant or a curious parent getting to know your kid’s new home away from home, Street View can take you on a walking tour of schools around the world. Starting today, you’ll be able to explore 36 new university campuses across the U.S. and Canada with Street View in Google Maps.

First stop: Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Architecture buffs will love Georgetown's Healy Hall, a National Historic Landmark and iconic building in the Romanesque revival style.

Now let’s head south. If a tropical climate is more your speed, maybe the University of Miami is the right place for you. Strolling UM’s scenic pathways winding through palm trees and clear blue water, you almost need to put on your shades. Talk about extra credit!

Finally, let’s stop by the University of Regina in Canada. Founded in 1911, the school is known for its emphasis on experiential learning. Although its Saskatchewan location can get pretty cold, students can take advantage of the beautiful green when the sun is shining.

These universities are the latest additions to the hundreds of college campuses all over the world that are already available for you to explore in Google Maps. To see if a Street View tour of your dream school is available, search for a particular university on Google Maps and click on Pegman to enter the Street View imagery. Visit our Street View gallery for global highlights and other popular universities around the world.

So if you can’t make it in person, Street View can help you get a feel for the place you’re considering spending the next four years. And for you parents out there, this might help you get used to the idea of an empty nest!

Spend more time exploring with Google Maps

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 3:37 PM

On vacation and want to know where the locals go? Looking for a new place to grab food on your lunch break? Waiting on the platform for your next train and wondering when it’s scheduled to arrive? Starting this week, you can spend less time searching for your answer and more time exploring the world with the Google Maps app for Android and iOS.

Now, whenever you want to discover places in your area, simply tap the new Explore button at the bottom right corner of your map to get a quick look at what’s nearby (where available). With Explore as your guide, you’ll see different places and activities that adapt to each area and moment throughout your day. This also works when you’re browsing other neighborhoods and cities on the map so you can plan your day’s outing or daydream about your next vacation.

The results you get in Explore not only tell you what’s nearby—and you can decide if “nearby” means a five-minute walk or a 20-minute drive—but they actually change based on context like the time of day and the weather, too. So don’t worry about wandering over to a breakfast spot for dinner, or arriving at the park just in time for a thunderstorm. You’ll get best results when you’re signed in with location reporting and history turned on.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you can get even more relevant information. If you’re using an Android device, tap on the My Location button at the bottom right or on the blue dot on the map, and you can quickly access more info about your location such as restaurant reviews and transit schedules, or simply save the place for later. Over time, your location experience will improve as you confirm the places you visit.

So next time you’re deciding where to brunch, or you want to check out your restaurant’s reviews while you wait for friends to arrive, open up your Google Maps app and Explore.

Take a swim with Street View on World Oceans Day

Friday, June 6, 2014 at 8:00 AM

In celebration of World Oceans Day this Sunday, June 8, today we’re inviting you to explore some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered waters in Google Maps, in partnership with The Catlin Seaview Survey. All you need is an Internet connection to dive into two new UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites in Belize and the Philippines.

On UNESCO’s Danger List of World Heritage Sites, the Belize Barrier Reef is the largest in the northern hemisphere. With Street View, you can discover what’s left of this habitat for threatened species, including many species of coral—everything from brain corals to large gorgonian sea fans.

Immerse yourself in the waters of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, which lies in the middle of the Sulu Sea and is one of the Philippines’ oldest ecosystems. The region contains excellent examples of pristine reef with an incredibly high diversity of marine life. The area supports 374 species of coral (that's almost 90 percent of all coral species in the Philippines!) and numerous sharks, whales and fish.

The Catlin Seaview Survey team has documented many underwater locales around the world using their 360-degree panoramic SVII cameras, including a growing number of UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites. We’ll continue to add this imagery to Street View in Google Maps as it’s collected. In the spirit of World Oceans Day, the goal of this project is to expose the world to the beauty of these marine habitats, and to create a scientific baseline record so that their changing health can be monitored over time.

So whether you’re an avid swimmer, a marine biologist or just a curious observer, we encourage you to dive in and explore the ocean with Google Maps—all while staying dry! And you can always see more imagery from around the world by visiting our complete underwater collection.

Get a front row seat to the games with Google Maps

Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 12:01 AM

The world's biggest soccer tournament is here. Whether you’re watching from the comfort of your couch or packing your bags for Brazil, Google Maps is your ticket to the games. To kick off the tournament, starting today you can explore all 12 stadiums and the iconic painted streets, one of Brazil’s tournament traditions, in Street View—a digital legacy of the 2014 games for years to come.

Exploring the sights and culture of this year’s football tournament has never been easier with Street View in Google Maps.

In addition to the stadiums and painted streets, images from hundreds of sites across Brazil, including Iguaçu National Park and St. Michael of the Missions, are also now available on Google Maps. If what you see in Brazil whets your appetite, you can also explore new Latin American imagery in Peru, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

And if you’re lucky enough to have a physical ticket to Brazil, don’t forget to pack Google Maps for mobile.

  • Transit: With Google Maps transit available in all 12 host cities, Brazilians and visitors alike can rest assured they can make it to the stadium and other destinations routing the best path by bus or train.
  • Indoor Maps: Make your way through more than 100 venues across Brazil, including airports, shopping malls and, yes, tournament stadiums with Indoor Maps.
  • Turn-by-turn navigation: Zip through Brazil from Point A to Point B with Google Maps for mobile, giving you the most accurate traffic info, including real-time incident reports from Waze, and voice-guided directions.

So even if we can't help your favorite team find their way to victory, Google Maps is ready for the assist. You might be (or get) lost without it!