The official blog for Google Maps
California dreamin’ with Street View
June 30, 2015
What better place to venture this summer than sunny California? Starting today, you’ll be able to explore hundreds of new locations across the Golden State with Street View in Google Maps. So whether you’re
sipping cabernet sauvignon in Napa, dipping in the Pacific Ocean, or hiking through the redwoods,
you’ll get a peek of what awaits you along Route 101.
California boasts more than three thousand wineries across the state, and is known for its varietals ranging from buttery chardonnays to big-time zins. Aspiring sommeliers, wine enthusiasts or just those who love a good view can now take a
of wineries across the state. Enjoy the sunny elegance and wonderful scenery at wineries like
(we recommend you grab a glass while you browse). Explore the drums where wine is aged at
before enjoying the open air patios that overlook the green hillsides of northern California.
Wolff Vineyards, San Luis Obispo, CA
Nature lovers and camping enthusiasts alike can travel the winding trails through
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Portola Redwoods State Park
, and gaze at glorious trees that rise hundreds of feet overhead. Meanwhile, the vistas at
Angel Island State Park
Mendocino Headlands State Park
Glen Canyon Park
may leave you breathless.
Redwood Loop Trail, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California
Surf’s up! The Pacific Ocean may be chilly in person, but it sure looks warm under the Street View sun at
Silver Strand State Beach
. Looking out at the wide, expansive coastline at
Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach
, the clouds seem to sit right on the California horizon.
Silver Strand State Beach, California
You can see conservation of these amazing landscapes happening right before your eyes by visiting
several nature preserves
, guided by Trekker loan partner,
The Nature Conservancy of California
Kammerer Ranch Preserve
, where TNC is studying blue oak trees
in a protected watershed
Gonzales Farm Preserve
, where you can go back in time to watch plants grow in an effort to build a wildlife corridor. Or jump over to
Santa Cruz Island Preserve
, in the Channel Islands, where TNC is mapping bishop pines to understand why the trees are dying and what they can do about it, all in the effort to preserve California’s diversity and beauty for generations to come.
Santa Cruz Island, in the Channel Islands
With Google’s headquarters nestled alongside the San Francisco Bay in Mountain View, Calif.,
of our great state is especially close to our hearts. We hope it inspires you to take a trip out and explore the west coast!
Posted by Deanna Yick, Street View Program Manager
Google Earth turns 10 today
June 29, 2015
When Google Earth was
10 years ago, it immediately stole my heart. Beyond the freedom to fly anywhere in the world, I was captivated by the ability to paint and visualize geographic data on this incredible global canvas.
Drawn to datasets backed by
, I started making my own maps with
a few weeks after Earth’s release in 2005. For my master’s degree, I used Google Earth to build a
of a high-tech biological
saw my work, which eventually led to a job on the
Google Earth Outreach
team, turning my passion for telling stories with maps into a career.
2005 was the beginning of Google Earth’s evolution, as well. In August of that year,
showed us how useful mapping tools like Earth could be for
crisis response efforts
. Rescue workers compared before and after Satellite imagery in Google Earth to better locate where people were stranded. And in the years after, with more than 2 billion downloads by people in nearly every country in the world, Earth has enabled people to discover
new coral reefs
, journey to the
Google Earth images of Gulfport, Mississippi's shoreline before and after Hurricane Katrina
The ability to empower groups as diverse as
to learn more about the world is what I love about Google Earth. It has the potential to make the planet a far more connected place, if you take the time to explore, discover and share what you learn. So to celebrate how far Google Earth has come and our leap into the next 10 years, we’ve created a few new ways to help you better see places from around (and above) the world.
The world is a big place, and it can be hard to know where to begin your virtual journey. Now you can jump straight to the newest and most interesting imagery around the globe with a new layer, Voyager, available in desktop versions of Google Earth.
Different imagery types in Voyager are shown by color
In this first edition of
, you’ll find five sections to explore:
highlights from Street View, including the Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon
striking landscapes around the globe as seen from space (more below)
a showcase of cities and towns available in photorealistic 3D (
don’t forget to tilt!
Satellite imagery updates:
a map of our most recently published satellite imagery
with thousands of
locations to choose from, take a quick tour of a few to whet your appetite
The Kemgon Gompa—available in the Street View layer—is a Buddhist monastery in Lukla, Nepal
Looking at our planet from above is not only a reminder of how interdependent our human and natural ecosystems are—it also lays bare the Earth’s staggering and often surreal beauty.
The Hammar Marshes of Iran are an uncharacteristic yet beautiful wetland feature in the otherwise arid climate
Earth View is library of some of the most striking and enigmatic landscapes available in Google Earth. It started as a 20 percent project last year by a few Googlers who enjoyed scouring satellite imagery for these gems. These images soon made their way onto Android phones, Chromecast and Chromebooks as a distinctive kind of wallpaper.
Islands surrounding Cuba seen in the Earth View
For Earth's 10th birthday, we're expanding the Earth View collection to 1,500 landscapes from every continent and ocean and making it accessible to even more people. The new imagery is available with an updated version of our
and a new
. Download high-resolution wallpapers for your mobile and desktop devices, or better yet, print them up for your walls!
The coastline near Ningaloo, Australia in the new Earth View
Thank you for the last 10 years exploring your world with Google Earth. We hope
will unlock a new perspective on our planet. We look forward to seeing what the next decade brings!
Posted by Sean Askay, Engineering Manager, Google Earth
Vertical Street View of the world’s most iconic rock wall: Yosemite’s El Capitan
June 24, 2015
Today we’re launching our first-ever vertical Street View collection, giving you the opportunity to
climb 3,000 feet up the world’s most famous rock wall: Yosemite’s El Capitan
. To bring you this new imagery, we partnered with legendary climbers Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. Read more about the project from Tommy Caldwell, who completed the world’s hardest climb in Yosemite in January of 2015.
“That is awesome. I definitely have to be a part of that.”
Maybe it was the sheer exhaustion from being in the middle of a
19-day climb of the Dawn Wall
, but when the guys at Google Maps and
Yosemite National Park
asked if I wanted to help them with their
first-ever vertical Street View collection of El Capitan in Yosemite
, I didn’t hesitate. Yosemite has been such an important part of my life that telling the story of El Capitan through Street View was right up my alley—especially when it meant working with the Google engineers to figure out some absurd challenges.
Climbing is all about flirting with the impossible and pushing the boundaries of what you think you can be done. Capturing
Street View imagery 3,000 feet up El Capitan
proved to be an extension of that, especially when you take a camera meant for the inside of a restaurant and mount it thousands of feet up the world’s most iconic rock wall.
Brett Lowell and Corey Rich capturing Street View of
Alex Honnold on the King Swing
Doing anything thousands of feet high on a sheer granite face is complicated, but everyone up there had spent years of their lives on a rope and knew exactly what they were doing. After some testing, we used
our tried-and-true climbing gear
and ropes to make sure the camera wouldn’t fall to the ground in the middle of our Street View collection.
Once we figured out how to keep the camera on El Cap, we created two sets of vertical Street View. First, we collected Street View of legendary Yosemite climbers—and my good friends—
in iconic spots up the sheer vertical face.
Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell camp out 1,140 feet up El Capitan
Lynn Hill’s ascent of El Capitan changed the paradigm of climbing, and she had an extraordinary effect on my climbing career. I’ll never forget when she became the first person, man or woman, to free-climb (using only her hands and feet)
back in 1993. Now, you can see her navigate these epic moves— like climbing sideways on tiny holds of the
, inventing a “Houdini” maneuver on the
and traversing under the
Lynn’s epic ascent up El Cap is now in Street View
Any story of El Capitan had to include my good friend Alex Honnold. He holds the speed record for climbing the Nose at 2 hours and 23 minutes - most people take 3-5 days. His unwavering confidence in himself is contagious; when I’m with him, I feel like the mountain has shrunk to half its size. As you make your way around Yosemite in Street View, you’ll see Alex doing what he does best: chimneying up the “
” racing up the
, or getting dinner ready in the
he calls home.
Just a normal day on on the Texas Flake for Alex Honnold
You’ll also see a glimpse of
yours truly on the Dawn Wall
. I spent some of my rest days during my January climb of the Dawn Wall testing out the Street View technology the Google team had sent me that month. El Cap is an intimidating environment for experimentation, but years of setting ropes proved pretty helpful in figuring out
how to get the equipment rigged and ready to collect Street View
Tommy Caldwell climbing the sheer face of the Dawn Wall
Then, we really put Alex to work to collect the second set of Street View: the entire vertical route of “The Nose” on El Capitan. One of the few people that could do this efficiently and quickly, Alex took the camera and pretty much ran 3,000 feet up with photographer partner Brett Lowell. Now, anyone can get the beta (climbing speak for insider advice) before they
climb the entire route
Alex Honnold and Brett Lowell climbed 3,000 feet to get the entire route in Google Maps
Lynn, Alex and I also helped create
a new Yosemite Treks page
, where you can take a tour up El Cap and learn more about climbing, from what a “hand jam” is to why we wear such tiny shoes. And as a father, I’m excited kids will learn more about Yosemite when Google brings students to the park through NatureBridge later this year as a part of this project. Plus, its pretty awesome that students who can’t make it to Yosemite yet will be go on a virtual reality field trip to the Park with
Hear the legendary Lynn Hill explain describe the gear she uses as she starts up El Cap
Yosemite’s driven so much of my life that I’m excited to be able to share it with the world through my eyes. These 360-degree panoramic images are the closest thing I’ve ever witnessed to actually being thousands of feet up a vertical rock face—better than any video or photo. But my hope is that this new imagery will inspire you to get out there and see Yosemite for yourself… whether you travel up a rock wall or just down the trail.
Tommy Caldwell, Lynn Hill, and Alex Honnold hanging out in Yosemite
Posted by Tommy Caldwell
Street View is volcanic: Mount Etna erupts onto Google Maps
June 18, 2015
Nestled between Messina and Catania in the North East of Sicily sits one of the most active volcanos in the world:
. The highest volcano on the European continent—and almost constantly in a state of activity—dwarfs all around it; its fertile volcanic soil cultivates the fine vineyards, farms and orchards draped about its slopes.
On June 21, 2013, Etna was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Now, to celebrate the second anniversary of this event, you can now explore the beast the locals know ominously as
) on Street View in Google Maps.
Our fearless Trekker operator climbing the mountain
On our way to the summit, we took imagery of the darkened slopes of the
, about 2,000 meters above sea level (see below); and after another challenging climb—carrying our equipment above 3,000 meters—we managed to capture breathtaking views from the top of the
This stunning imagery not only enables anyone with an Internet connection to walk the beautiful trails of the mountain—it’s also a way to protect and enhance the cultural and historical heritage of the Sicilian territory and its beauty.
The Central Crater
Precisely for this purpose, the
Google Cultural Institute
has partnered with Unioncamere and the Chamber of Commerce of Catania who built an
where you can discover
the unique history of Mount Etna and the art and culture of its surroundings—in particular, how the Etna basalt, formed by the slow solidification of the volcanic lava flows as they cool, shaped the architectural heritage of this region.
And if you’re passionate about volcanic landscapes, Google Maps spoils you: you can visit the volcanoes of the
National Park in Hawaii
Crater Lake National Park
the Meteor Crater
in Arizona; Japan’s
; and you can even walk the Nishiyama Crater Promenade.
Konpira and Nishiyama Crater Promenade
We hope these fascinating images entice you to visit Sicily yourself someday—but for now, enjoy your virtual trip up one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world with Street View.
By Valentina Frassi, Program Manager Special Collects, Google Street View
Building better maps in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Turkey
June 8, 2015
Whether you’re stepping off a plane into a new country or out of a taxi into your favorite cafe, you want a current, accurate map that gets you where you want to go instantly and easily. Today we're making that possible in more places with the launch of Ground Truth in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Turkey. Ground Truth enables us to improve a country’s map quickly so that it mirrors the constantly changing world as closely as possible. Ground Truth also makes it possible for you to contribute your local knowledge to Google Maps by reporting any problems directly to us through the
Report a Problem tool
, so together we can build the most realistic representation of the world around you.
With cleaner, crisper depictions of natural features, water bodies, mountains and more, each of these four countries has an updated map. For example, Valdivia in Chile now has an elaborate network of snaking rivers surrounded by lush greenery, living up to its nickname as the “City of Rivers.”
For those of you yearning for an adventure by sea, we’ve added extensive ferry routes including ferry line and harbor names. For example, in Turkey, you can now easily explore the numerous routes connecting popular ports like Yenikapı to Kadıköy as well as points of interest in the surrounding areas.
We’ve also significantly expanded and improved the road networks in all four of these countries with better route suggestions based on the quality of roads, more street names, and highway signs for more accurate directions. In Colombia, the dense complexity of national highways around Bogotá is now clearly visible with colored demarcation and highway numbers on major highways.
We’ve also made places of interest like airports, hospitals, universities and parks more easily distinguishable through improved visual enhancements like colored grounds, water bodies and winding walkways. Explore the beautiful grounds of Bosques de Palermo in Argentina.
Bosques de Palermo
Whether you’re trekking to the breathtaking waterfalls of Iguazu or sipping a cup of locally grown coffee while cruising the historic streets of Medellin Colombia, Google Maps is here to help you explore your world.
Posted by Sophia Lin, Product Manager, Google Maps
Dive in to the heart of the Coral Triangle in Asia, home of the richest coral reefs on Earth
June 5, 2015
Editors note: This post is the first in a series of guest entries by members of the
XL Catlin Seaview Survey
team, a group dedicated to recording and revealing the world’s coral reefs in high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic imagery. These posts will take you behind the scenes of the project and introduce you to the people taking these images.
Asia Pacific is home to some of the world’s top marine biodiversity hotspots. To celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8, we’ve worked with Google to
our largest ever collection of underwater imagery on Google Maps, featuring 360-degree virtual dives from
20 reefs across the region
, including the Philippines, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, the Cook Islands, Australia and American Samoa.
Here’s a look at the virtual dive locations captured by the XL Catlin Seaview Survey team
Come take a closer look at how we carry out these underwater surveys by going behind-the-scenes on our dive at Indonesia’s Bunaken National Park, the heart of the Coral Triangle. Often called the “underwater Amazon,” the Coral Triangle is a 5.7 million square kilometer area that spans from the Philippines in the north, down to Indonesia and as far as the Solomon Islands in the east. This giant triangle is also home to 76% of known coral species and over 3,000 species of fish.
The SVII camera system surveys the remarkable reefscapes of the Coral Triangle (c) Catlin Seaview Survey
Every dive begins with getting our divers rigged up and the 60kg camera off our research boat Makarena and into the water. The SVII is a revolutionary camera system that creates high-resolution 360-degree images of the underwater environment using technology similar to Google Street View. By attaching SVII to an underwater scooter, we can cover distances of up to two kilometers in a single dive, taking about 3,000 images each time.
We’ve also added instruments to this camera set-up, including a depth transponder (altimeter) so that we can read the altitude of the camera from the sea floor, which allows us to gather standardized scientific information at a volume and scale which was previously unattainable to the marine science community.
Deploying the SVII camera in the waters off Manado (c) Catlin Seaview Survey
We’ve seen large schools with hundreds of reef fish such as
(Chaedotontidae spp) or
red toothed triggerfish
(Odonus niger) cascade down the healthy reef slope. On this particular day, we were lucky enough to be greeted by a dolphin and a free swimming banded sea snake cruising along of one Bunaken Islands’ epic undersea walls.
XL Catlin Seaview divers explore underwater marine life at Bunaken Islands
While we could easily spend all day amongst the depths and colors of the Coral Triangle’s reefs, we try to complete our expeditions as early as possible to get started on downloading and processing the images. We’ll tell you more about the data we gather from these 360-degree photos in upcoming posts, but for now, we hope this new underwater imagery available on the
XL Catlin Global Reef Record
will give anyone with an Internet connection the ability to immerse themselves in stunning coral reefs like never before.
Posted by Dominic Bryant, XL Catlin Oceans Scholar and PhD Candidate at the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland
Explore life beneath the waves in honor of World Oceans Day
June 4, 2015
Covering more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean remains one of the most uncharted and undiscovered ecosystems on the planet. Home to the majority of life on Earth, the ocean acts as its life support system, controlling everything from our weather and rainfall to the oxygen we breathe. Yet despite the ocean’s vital importance, the ocean is changing at a rapid rate due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing, making it one of the most serious environmental issues we face today.
Google is committed to exploring and preserving the ocean. Today, in time for World Oceans Day on June 8, and
in partnership with
XL Catlin Seaview Survey
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Chagos Conservation Trust
you can explore brand new Street View imagery of more than 40 locations around the world, including the
American Samoa and Chagos Islands
underwater dives in Bali, the Bahamas and the Great Barrier Reef
. We hope the release of this imagery inspires people to learn more about this precious natural resource.
Walk the coastline of
, Samoa, home to some of the most pristine coral reefs in the Pacific
Mapping the ocean is key to preserving it. Each image in Google Maps is a GPS-located digital record of these underwater and coastal environments, which can be used as a baseline to monitor change over time. This comprehensive record of coral reefs showcases the beauty of these ecosystems and highlights the threats they face, such as the impact of increasing storms in the Great Barrier Reef and of rising water temperatures, factors causing the reefs to bleach white.
taken just one year apart, demonstrate reef deterioration from ocean warming.
With just one click, you can swim underwater alongside some of the most wondrous and exotic creatures, including a
in the Solomon Islands,
in the Cook Islands,
great white sharks
in Australia, and the huge and mysterious
(Mola mola) in Bali.
Mola mola, the world’s heaviest bony fish, in Crystal Bay, Bali
Two humpback whales swimming in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific
As the ocean changes, we must change with it by creating new technologies, to help document the state of the ocean today and how it changes in years to come. Working closely with XL Catlin Seaview Survey, we’re announcing a select group of new partnerships for our underwater Street View program to map and publish more imagery of our ocean and water systems for the world to understand and explore.
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
: Expanding our current partnership to bring unprecedented access to American marine protected areas
: Engaging and training volunteer citizen scientists to participate in ocean mapping and data collection
: Developing locally-managed marine areas for biodiversity and the benefit of coastal people throughout Madagascar and the Indian Ocean
Our World Underwater Scholarship Society
Providing a program of firsthand underwater-related experiences to selected scholars across the world
GUE’s Project Baseline
: Empowering a global network of highly skilled SCUBA divers to create a lasting visual legacy of underwater conditions in oceans, lakes, rivers, springs, and caves all over the world
In addition to underwater and coastal Street View imagery,
Global Fishing Watch
, developed in partnership with nonprofits
, is producing the
first public and interactive view
of industrial fishing at a global scale. With so much of what happens on the ocean going unnoticed, Global Fishing Watch will aim to empower governments, the seafood industry, research institutions and the public with new tools to better inform sustainable practices and management policies.
This World Oceans Day, we hope that you’re inspired to learn more about ocean change. So dive into the deeps of the sea and become engaged to protect the ocean and understand how it supports us, so that all of us can better support it in return.
Posted by Jenifer Austin and Brian Sullivan, Google Ocean Program
Mind the (g)app for real-time transit information
June 2, 2015
Ever missed a bus? Subway? Yeah, us too. Luckily, Google Maps is making it easier to track your transportation so you can finish that last sip of coffee without worrying you’re missing your ride. Starting today in Google Maps, relevant journeys are handily arranged and summarized in the app—so it’s easy to know at a glance how long you’ll be waiting and what your other options are if you just miss that bus.
We're also making it easier to get real-time transit info in two new countries and four new metro areas. We work with 100+ partners to give you real time transit info, and today we're adding 25+ new partners in six places: U.K., Netherlands, Budapest, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle. This real-time transit info will let you see live arrivals for buses, metros and subway systems—and even alert you to cancelled routes—so you can better navigate the intricate and unpredictable world of transit in major cities around the world.
Google Maps has provided public transit information since 2007, and today it’s helping you get around easier in 18,000+ cities and towns in 64 countries, across six continents.
With the help of 6,000+ transit authorities, Google Maps gets you where you need to go with schedules for more than 2.5 million train stations, bus stops, and ferry terminals around the world.
Your time is precious—let Google Maps save some of it for you with the best possible route and most accurate departure times. All aboard!
Posted by Karen Grunberg, Technical Program Manager, Google Transit
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