Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 9:00 AM
If like me you're an avid traveller (of the virtual or standard variety) you'll probably know that in the last few months the Street View team has been working with tourist agencies, the public and partners from across the world to bring a new kind of imagery to Street View, focusing on putting tourist spots and iconic cultural landmarks on the map in all their 360 degree beauty.
As part of this effort, we're delighted to be announcing a global alliance with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to put imagery of World Heritage sites into Street View. To whet your appetite we've released new imagery for 19 UNESCO sites around Europe, including places in Czech Republic, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. You can explore the sites directly in Google Maps, or visit the microsite to learn more.
In the coming months Google will work with UNESCO to select additional World Heritage landmarks, in countries where Street View imagery is being collected, which will be photographed for the project. The aim is to collect imagery from diverse regions throughout the world including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, US and many countries throughout Europe. With permission from the site manager/owner such places look set to one day be available to millions of people around the world who may never have the chance to visit them in person.
Fancy a little tour of your own? Why not start with a walk alongside the Seine. From the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, from the Place de la Concorde to the Grand and Petit Palais, the evolution of Paris and its history can be seen from its banks. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Sainte Chapelle are architectural masterpieces while Haussmann's wide squares and boulevards influenced late 19th- and 20th-century town planning the world over.with a virtual walk.
If you fancy going a little further back in time you could swoop over to Italy to explore the ruins of the Roman towns of Pompei, engulfed by Vesuvius eruption in AD 79. These have been progressively excavated and made accessible to the public since the mid-18th century and are now available for all with a simple click of a mouse.
Personally, I couldn't resist going one step further back in time by visiting Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, one of the most famous groups of megaliths in the world. The circles of menhirs are arranged in a pattern whose astronomical significance is still being explored, and the site has captivated acheologists for hundreds of years.
There are plenty more sites you can visit too - like the Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout in the Netherlands, the old town of Cáceres in Spain and the historic Center of Prague in Czech Republic. Check them all out here.
We work in partnership with landmarks and attractions all over the world to put them on the map and the Street View partnership programme is now available in the following countries: France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the US. So if you want to be part of it just get in touch!
In the meantime, enjoy your trip!