The official blog for Google Maps
A new way to navigate the streets of Google Maps
March 31, 2015
Over the years, we’ve updated Google Maps to make it more accurate, comprehensive and useful.
From imagery of the coffee shop down the road to the Taj Mahal, or turn-by-turn navigation that helps you get to your first date on time or find your way to a famous landmark...we’ve worked hard to give people the best possible experience of the world around them. And today we’re introducing our most ambitious update yet: PAC-Maps.
With local place information and Street View, it’s easier than ever before to find where you’re going but there’s never been anything to let you know where *not* to go. With this update, we’ve added imagery of dangerous virtual beings, starting with Pinky, Blinky, Inky and Clyde. When navigating fruit-filled streets, determine at a glance which turns to pass to evade ghosts and get where you’re going safely. When you’re feeling a bit peckish, you can simply gobble up a few pac-dots or a cherry and keep on nommin'. PAC-Maps makes navigating around
as simple as left, right, up or down.
Experience all the benefits of #PACMaps on
and on the latest version of Google Maps on
. This is just the beginning, so stay tuned for more Maps fun such as zombie incident alerts and intergalactic Street View. Oh, and be sure to
what our friends at Ingress are up to. It looks like PAC-MAN chomped his way over to the real-world!
Posted by Michelle Luo, Product Manager
Drift dreamily down the Danube
March 31, 2015
Since growing up near Ulm, Germany, close to where the Danube begins its epic journey from The Black Forest southeast to the Black Sea, I’ve been captivated by the majesty of the river we knew as
. The Danube has woven countries and cultures together for thousands of years; it has been a catalyst for economic development, a pathway for migration, and an inspiration for works of art and
Starting today, you can cruise this
with Street View in Google Maps, sailing through six countries, three capitals, and enjoying many arresting landscapes along the way.
To capture the imagery, the Trekker was mounted on the riverboat
ms Treasures, operated by
, and Scylla, its maritime partner, for cruises along the Danube and other European rivers.
Your virtual boat ride begins in Bratislava, Slovakia, where at the top of the hill, you can see
. Originally settled during the Bronze Age (around 3500 BC)
, the castle remains a dominant sight in the area, fixed at a crucial trade point on the Danube.
Bratislava Castle, Bratislava, Slovakia
Steering the ship through Hungary, the shoreline is crowded with sights of downtown Budapest. Whether you’re gazing at
the famous Chain Bridge
by night or the
by day, the views from the boat dock will not disappoint.
Hungarian Parliament, Budapest, Hungary
On the riverbank of Croatia sits
, an old baroque city with breathtaking architecture. The Franciscan Monastery and the Church of St. Philip and Jacob overlook the city, peering down at the waters of the Danube.
The natural landscapes along the Danube and the views of the river itself may be the real highlight of the journey—try drifting through the
Cazanele Mari area
in Romania, where more than a third of the Danube’s waterways weave,
Krcedinska Ada area
in Serbia, where the water seems to come alive with reflections from the sky above and the terrain on either side of the riverway.
Cazanele Mari area in Romania
Then onwards to Bulgaria, where the Danube acts as a bordering line with neighboring Romania. The
that connect Bulgaria and Romania are believed to be among the shortest ways to reach Western Europe from the East.
Bridge between Bulgaria and Romania
Growing up close to the drainage basin of this great river, whenever I visit a city along the Danube it’s easy to feel connected not just to my hometown but also to everything in between. That’s why I find it even more exciting to connect all the pieces on Street View, follow the river all the way, and see what a grown-up and majestic river “my” little Danube from Ulm becomes when it flows into the Black Sea.
Hopefully you too will enjoy this
journey down the Danube
on Street View in Google Maps.
Posted by Ulf Spitzer, Product Manager, Google Maps Street View
From sea to shining sea: A Street View tour of the U.S.
March 23, 2015
Street View in Google Maps can take you on virtual journeys to
But sometimes adventure is waiting for you right in your own backyard. For Americans looking to learn more about their country, you can now explore some new scenic and interesting places here in the U.S., thanks to new imagery collected through the
Trekker Loan Program
Today some of Michigan’s most beautiful places have come to Google Maps, collected in partnership with
. Visit the historic, family-owned
, or enjoy the view over Lake Michigan at
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
—the Great Lake State has something to offer for everyone.
Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan, USA
For some California dreamin’, zip on over to Monterey, where our partners at the
Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau
helped collect some of the state’s most sought-after scenes. Taking a walk under the blue sky at
or dipping your toes in the local river at the
Big Sur River Inn
will give you a taste of the beauty of the west coast.
Carmel Beach, Monterey, California, USA
Thanks to our partners at
The Conservation Fund
, American history buffs can pay homage to Civil War soldiers at the
Antietam National Battlefield
in Maryland, float down
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
, or explore the
First State’s First National Monument
in Delaware, where the constitution was first ratified.
Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland, USA
Whether you’re a kid learning about the world beyond your neighborhood or a tourist looking for a place to take your next trip, America’s unique history and beauty make it a great destination. To see more sites, explore our
U.S. Highlights Gallery
Posted by Deanna Yick, Google Maps Street View Program Manager
Zoom with a view: Visit India’s stunning monuments online
March 18, 2015
(Cross-posted from the
Google Asia Pacific Blog
Google India Blog
, we’ve partnered with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and other institutions to bring a comprehensive range of India’s heritage sites online, including national icons like the Taj Mahal, Safdarjung Tomb, and the Ellora Caves. Starting today, history lovers and online explorers alike can now find new panoramic views of 31 Indian archaeological sites and monuments on
Google Cultural Institute
. Here’s a virtual walk through of some of these stunning monuments, made possible by Street View technology:
Begin your journey at the
Gateway of India
, a popular starting point for tourists who wish to explore bustling Mumbai, one of India's largest cities. Pan through the imagery for a closer look at the yellow basalt stone arch, covered with intricate Gujarati-influenced latticework.
From there, hop over to the
at Konârk, one of India’s Seven Wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a glimpse of the chariot-shaped temple and its elaborately carved stone wheels, pillars and walls.
For a flavour of India’s royal legacy, visit the
next, one of the country’s grandest royal palaces. Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, the Palace hosts the Mysore Dasara, which celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2010 and attracts visitors from around the world.
Next, wander through the remains of ancient India’s highest seat of education - the
. Learn more about the amazing discoveries uncovered during its excavation through the Archaeological Survey of India’s virtual exhibit, “
Nalanda: from Mound to Monument
", on the Google Cultural Institute.
Following that, roam through Karnataka’s largest temple complex: the
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
, an impressive series of nine Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary. This World Heritage Site celebrates the Chalukya dynasty, narrating stories of their bravery and valour in the battlefield.
You can also head further down south to the state of Tamil Nadu for a look at
on Street View, a fine example of Tamil architecture created during India’s Chola dynasty. The temple, dedicated to Chola emperor Rajaraja, is entirely built out of granite.
That’s just a quick tour of some of the 31 sites we’ve brought onto Google Maps and the Google Cultural Institute today by working with the ASI, as well as the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, Karnataka Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation. We hope exploring the new panoramic views of these important sites will help people in India and around the world discover, explore, and learn more about India’s rich heritage.
Posted by: Chetan Krishnaswamy, Country Head - Public Policy, Google India
Mapping Brazilian islands, above ground and under the sea
March 17, 2015
Few people have set foot on the islands of
Fernando de Noronha
Atol das Rocas
, but now you can visit them from the comfort of your couch. Google Maps’ latest Street View imagery takes you through both
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
, widely considered to be amongst Brazil’s most coveted destinations. This Street View journey not only takes you across golden beaches and around towering cliffs, but also deep into the ocean for Brazil’s first underwater Street View collection. With help from the
, a backpack equipped with a 15-lens camera, and our partners at
Catlin Seaview Survey
, these images offer an immersive picture of two areas Brazil is striving to preserve.
Our first stop is Fernando de Noronha, a group of islands known for their natural beauty and ecotourism, and a prized destination in Brazil. Tourists, only permitted on the island in limited groups due to conservation efforts, often seek out the archipelago’s stunning beaches.
A trip to
Fernando de Noronha
may begin with a stop at
Cacimba do Padre
. This beautiful beach is known worldwide for its incredible surfing and gorgeous sunsets.
Cacimba do Padre
If the sand isn’t for you, make your way toward
Baía dos Porcos
. This small stretch of land is known for its spectacular views of “Dois Irmãos,” two grand rock formations triumphantly rising from the ocean.
Baía dos Porcos
Our next stop is
Atol das Rocas
, an atoll in the South Atlantic ocean used exclusively for scientific research. A pivotal breeding area for various animals, Atol das Rocas is home to 30 species of tropical seabirds. While you won’t be able to come here as a tourist, virtual visits are highly encouraged!
Atol das Rocas
Ready for a swim? Dive into the Atlantic Ocean from the top of
Buraco do Inferno
. Also known as "The Devil’s Hole," this huge rock formation is a popular diving spot in Fernando de Noronha. At certain points in the day, its blow hole releases air and water in an eruptive display.
Buraco de Inferno
Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas are also sanctuaries for animals and marine wildlife precious to the regions, including dolphins, turtles, and a variety of fish. Schools of fish often traverse volcanic rock beneath the ocean’s surface at
Fish Swimming through Trinta Reis
, known as “spinner dolphins” due to their acrobatic modes of swimming, are making their way through shallow waters.
Dolphins Swimming through Canal da Sela Gineta
Alongside divers snapping pictures, you can swim with a large sea turtle moving with the ocean’s current.
Buraco das Cabras
To bring more island beaches to your living room, or continue your virtual scuba-dive, visit Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas on Street View, or check out our
gallery of highlights
Posted by Deanna Yick, Street View Program Manager
Google Street View
Growing up in the shadow of Everest
March 12, 2015
Apa Sherpa is a Sherpa mountaineer who holds the world record for reaching the summit of Mount Everest 21 times—more than any other person. In 2009, Apa founded the
Apa Sherpa Foundation
, a nonprofit that works to provide better educational and economic opportunities to the young people of the Khumbu region. In March 2014, Apa Sherpa,
Google Earth Outreach
, and the Nepalese nonprofit
, embarked on a 10-day trek through the Khumbu region, supporting local people to enhance the digital representations of their communities on Google Maps. We hope the project will empower the Apa Sherpa Foundation, Story Cycle, other nonprofits, and Sherpa community members to tell their stories through Google Maps. -Ed.
I was born in 1960 in Thame, a small town in the Khumbu region of Nepal, which is home to
, the world’s tallest peak. Even though I grew up in the shadow of the mountain, I dreamt of being a doctor instead of a climber. That dream was never realized. When I was 12, my father passed away, and I had to find work to support my family. So I began carrying goods up the mountain as part of an expedition team. At 30, a dream that had never been mine came true: I summited Everest for the first time as a porter.
Apa Sherpa on the summit of Everest with a memorial to Sir Edmund Hillary who passed away in 2008. Photo credit: Apa Sherpa Foundation
Our region is famous for being home to Everest, but it’s also the home of the
and has been for centuries. The region has much more to offer than just the mountain. So last year, I guided the Google Maps team through my home region to collect Street View imagery that improves the map of our community. Now you can find
on the map and explore other communities nestled at the base of Everest, like
Phortse Thakiri Chholing Gomba, Monastery, Nepal
Partnering with Google Maps allowed us to get important local landmarks on the map and share a richer view of Khumbu with the world, including local
and more, with
along the way!
My hope is that when people see this imagery online, they’ll have a deeper understanding of the region and the Sherpa people that live there.
Phortse, Khumbu Region, Nepal
Map of Thame, Apa Sherpa’s hometown, before the Google Mapping project [above]
added locations [below]
When people ask what it feels like to reach the top of Mount Everest, I say “heaven.” But I haven’t summited the mountain 21 times because I love climbing. I earned this world record in pursuit of a greater goal: to provide a good education and a better, safer life for my kids.
My hope is that my children and future generations have many choices for employment outside of mountaineering.
Apa Sherpa Foundation
, I now work to improve educational access by funding the
Lower Secondary School
in my hometown to give children other options for their future, so they can pursue their dreams to be doctors
—or anything else they want to be
, like mine, so many years ago.
Your online trip to
my home awaits you
on Google Maps. And if you ever get the chance to visit the Khumbu region in person, come stay at the
Everest Summiteer Lodge
that I built with my own hands. We’ll be ready to
Google Street View
Zipline through the Amazon Forest with Street View
March 1, 2015
Home to millions of plant, animal and insect species, the Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Undiscovered species thrive in the canopies of the
, atop trees that have stood for centuries. Starting today, with the help of our partners at the
Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS)
, you can begin to unlock some of the wonders of the forest, by traveling from the upper canopy to the forest floor with Google Maps’ first zipline
Street View collection
Trekker on a zipline in the Amazon Rainforest
High up in the canopy, you can see thick moss on the trunks, miles of hanging vine, and some of the many plants and insects that call this place home.
Top of the Amazon canopy zipline
Now zip back down to the forest floor, and wind through a maze of towering old-growth trees. Looking up, the canopies are so thick, the sun barely peeks through.
Towering trees in the Amazon Forest
You can also come out from the shade and take a virtual float down the dreamy waters of the
and come out to the
, one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon.
Float down the Rio Mariepauá
And don’t forget to stop by one of the 17 communities of local people who live along the river and in the forest. These people are the devoted stewards of the river and forests, and protect it by living with it, preventing the destruction of the trees and the life that depends on them.
Community of Abelha, along the Rio Mariepaua
This project is the next step in our partnership with FAS, who first
invited us to Rio Negro Sustainable Development Reserve
just three years ago. Their hope is that sharing the imagery of their local communities, rain forests and rivers with the world will raise awareness and support for their efforts to conserve these areas. Collected through the
Trekker Loan Program
, this new imagery is the result of boating down 500 km of rivers, walking 20 km of forest trails and ziplining through forest canopies. We hope it inspires you to embark on your own
of the Amazon (you can leave the bug repellent at home!).
Posted by Karin Tuxen-Bettman, Program Manager, Google Earth Outreach
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