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by John Waghorn on 30th August 2011
Search Engine giants Google have had a dominant force on the search engine market over recent years and last month’s figures tell the same story, highlighting a 90.66% of total searches for the overall UK market [See: Search Engine Market Share – August 2011]
Whilst Google continue to provide positive search results for a number of categories such as images, news, shopping and the popular Google Maps Street View, they have now announced that they are set to map the Amazon River in northwest Brazil, but what exactly for?
The plan is to increase the amount of content that users are able to see through Google Map’s Street View as the Amazon and Rio Negro Rivers will come to life in your own home. In the past, the Street View service has enabled users to visually take a tour around Stonehenge, find people on the floor after consuming far too much to drink and even discover a body on the pavement! (Don’t worry though; she was just playing dead to her friends. Not that the Google Street car driver seemed to notice)
Now, users will be able to follow the Amazon River and discover some of the most remote parts of the earth through the click of a button on their computers.
So How Will This Be Achieved?
The initial stages include the Brazilian and U.S Google Street View teams, who are currently in the Amazon rainforest, using and learning how to capture images of the forest, local communities and of course the river with modern technology.
What’s more impressive is that Google will also use Street View tricycles (note that these are not motor powered) to pedal along narrow paths of the river and the surrounding Amazon villages, focusing in close on the areas where civilization meets the rainforest. Further images will also be captured by boat as it floats down-stream to give users a sense of Amazon life. If you have never seen these corners of the world before then soon you will get the chance to do so. Street View has braved conditions in Antarctica and Iran before in order to capture images and the Amazon will add to their extensive collection.
The project is in partnership with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), the local non-profit conservation organization who invited Google to visit the area so that work could begin. Training has been giving to the foundation members to show them how to gather and process the images as they do their bit in the project alongside Google.
The first part of the image collection process will see Google and the FAS teams travel a 50km section of the Rio Negro River before developing the images and placing the still photos into a 360-degree panoramic.
Google say that they are “honoured to work with FAS on this project to bring the Amazon online for those who can’t visit in person and help our partners share with the world the unique stories of its inhabitants and the beauty of this place they call home”.
For Google users this means that the Amazon and its inhabitants will be visible in a new way, one which has not been achieved before.