Google Begins Mapping For Street View in the Amazon

Photo: markg6 / cc

It is one of the most remote and biodiverse regions on the planet, with a cultural and ecological treasure-trove typically reserved only for those hardy and adventurous enough to unlock it. But soon, experiencing the wonders of the Amazon won't require mosquito nets, machettes -- or even pants. This week, Google began traversing the rivers and villages of the world's largest rainforest, armed with special imaging equipment, for its latest undertaking: Street View in the Amazon.Despite the project's name, streets are actually few and far between in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. So, like most of the region's inhabitants, who reside in isolated villages tucked along the riverfront, Google's international team of surveyors travelled by boat and bike to collect panoramic images of the lush ecosystem and the communities that reside there which few will ever get the chance to visit themselves.

To help with what is sure to offer some of the most fascinating Street View sights yet, Google has partnered with the Sustainable Amazon Foundation (FAS), a group that works to promote social, economic, and environmental awareness of the region, home to thousands of indigenous peoples whose cultures have been largely inaccessible to much of the world. The project has even enlisted the help of local residents to pedal Google's camera-equipped tricycles throughout their communities -- offering a glimpse of their daily life.

"Once all the images are uploaded to the Internet, we can share the local culture and beauty of the Amazon with anyone, anywhere in the world. Without the vision, creativity and dedication of our partners, this endeavor would not be possible," Karin Tuxen-Bettman, Street View in the Amazon teamleader said in a released statement, as reported by Terra.

This isn't the first time Google Street View has ventured into hard-to-reach places to raise awareness of the planet's most important ecosystems. Just last year, Google unveiled a unique, interactive tour of Antartica and hundreds of its tuxedoed locals. And perhaps, as internet users from around the globe get the chance to see the wondrous, yet threatened Amazon rainforest, and walk virtually throughout its villages shoulder to shoulder with the people who live there, more and more people will join in its protection.

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