Coming to Google Street View: Galapagos Islands

Google captures panoramic views of remote and inaccessible areas

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 24, 2013 11:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – If you've ever wished you could visit the Galapagos Islands, you'll soon get the chance to see the remote volcanic islands from the comfort of your own home. Google sent hikers to the area complete with Street View gear to capture panoramic views of even the most inaccessible places—like down the crater of an active volcano—and underwater. "We spent 10 days there hiking over trails," says Raleigh Seamster, the project's leader for Google Maps. "And these are islands, so half of the life there is under the water surface."

The team used Street View gear to swim with sea lions and sharks, and to capture the island's famed giant tortoises, along with other species. Scientists are interested in the footage, too, working with Google with the hope of updating the pictures regularly throughout the years as they study the effects of invasive species, tourism, and climate change on the island's ecosystems. "This whole project was part of Google's ongoing effort to build the most comprehensive and accurate map of the world," Seamster says. The company, which undertook a similar project at the Great Barrier Reef, hopes to have the footage up for viewing later this year.

A giant tortoise crawls along the path near Googler Karin Tuxen Bettman while she collects imagery with the Street View Trekker in Galapaguera.
A giant tortoise crawls along the path near Googler Karin Tuxen Bettman while she collects imagery with the Street View Trekker in Galapaguera.   ((AP Photo/Google))
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation crosses a rocky lava field to reach a land iguana restoration area in Bahia Cartago, Isabela Island in the Galapagos.
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation crosses a rocky lava field to reach a land iguana restoration area in Bahia Cartago, Isabela Island in the Galapagos.   ((AP Photo/Google))
Christophe Bailhache navigates an SVII camera through a large group of sea lions during a survey dive at Champion Island in Galapagos.
Christophe Bailhache navigates an SVII camera through a large group of sea lions during a survey dive at Champion Island in Galapagos.   ((AP Photo/Catlin Seaview Survey))
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation climbs out of an Isabela island where he was collecting imagery on the Galapagos.
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation climbs out of an Isabela island where he was collecting imagery on the Galapagos.   ((AP Photo/Google))
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation collects seashore imagery with the Street View Trekker at the Los Humedales wetland area on Isabela Island in the Galapagos.
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation collects seashore imagery with the Street View Trekker at the Los Humedales wetland area on Isabela Island in the Galapagos.   ((AP Photo/Google))
Christophe Bailhache with an SVII camera is escorted underwater by a Spotted Eagle Ray during a survey dive in the Galapagos Islands.
Christophe Bailhache with an SVII camera is escorted underwater by a Spotted Eagle Ray during a survey dive in the Galapagos Islands.   ((AP Photo/Catlin Seaview Survey))
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation is shown crossing a field of ferns to reach some naturally occurring sulfur mines on top an active volcano on Isabela Island in the Galapagos.
Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation is shown crossing a field of ferns to reach some naturally occurring sulfur mines on top an active volcano on Isabela Island in the Galapagos.   ((AP Photo/Google))
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