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Explore the wonders of Thailand with Street View
March 28, 2016
Nestled in northern Thailand,
Sukhothai Historical Park
was once the capital of ancient Siam. Sukhothai means “dawn of happiness”, and now you too can explore this happy place from the palm of your hand with Google Maps. Today, the park joins over 150 new places and national treasures that are now available in 360-degree panoramic imagery on Google Street View.
From ancient temples, to tropical beaches, to strawberry plantations and rice terraces, this new Street View collection showcases the beauty and diversity of The Kingdom. Our intrepid trekker walked 500 kilometers with a heavy backpack across the length and breadth of the country to capture images of places like this:
Trekking around the Chai Watthanaram Temple at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Central Thailand
Temple visits are a must for any visitor to Thailand.
Now you can wander virtually through the ruins of the
Chai Watthanaram Temple
and pay your virtual respects to Buddha
from behind ancient tree roots at the Ayutthaya Historical Park. See ancient Khmer ruins at
Phanom Rung National Park
, or get up close to the intricate Buddhist and Hindu sculptures at the
The Sanctuary of Truth
— a temple made entirely of wood, just outside Bangkok.
You can also explore the Chinese architecture of the Viharn Sien Chinese Cultural and Religion Museum.
Or take a whirlwind tour around Thailand’s most famous monuments and architectural attractions all in one place at
. Dubbed the world's largest outdoor museum,
the park is shaped like Thailand
and is home to monuments of
The Old Market Town
The Pavilion of the Enlightened
For good fortune, why not head over to the Erawan Museum just outside the capital? There you’ll find a giant Erawan statue, a mythological three-headed elephant, filled with antiquities and artifacts.
Our trekker also found some real elephants on his travels, too. As well as bringing
the 'retirement home' for elephants to Street View,
we also had a chance to say hi to this big feller while capturing the
Thai Thani Art & Culture Village
in Eastern Thailand.
Trekker says hi to the elephants at the Thai Thani Art & Culture Village
For something a little cooler, head north to Chiang Mai where you can see mist rolling over the
2000 Tea Plantation
and the Ban Nor Lae Village
Those strawberry fields really do feel like forever when you’re carrying the trekker:
No trip to Thailand is complete without a tour of The Kingdom’s stunning southern beaches. You can laze around Koh Samui’s
white stretches of sand
, take in the lagoons, cliffs and islets of
Hin Ta Hin Yai
Koh Nang Yuan
, or find
a quiet grotto
to watch the boats go by. There’s no shortage of inspiration for your next diving or beach get away.
Taking in the views at Koh Nang Yuan
Whether you continue your journey in
or are inspired to visit in person, we invite you to enjoy exploring the wonders of Thailand. We hope that visiting The Kingdom with Google Maps (available on
) will inspire a deeper appreciation for the beauty and history of this beautiful country.
Posted by Cynthia Wei, Program Manager, Google Street View
Ayubowan Sri Lanka!
March 21, 2016
When the explorer
visited Sri Lanka in 1265, he described it as “
the finest island of its size in all the world
.” Tourists from around the world agree, as it’s become an increasingly popular travel destination, especially for those who want to explore the country’s
. Now even more people around the world will be able to discover some of the jewels that this fine island has to offer — minus the treacherous sea voyage — with Street View.
From the hustle and bustle of
, to the
cool tea plantation hills
, and onwards to the sandy white beaches, Sri Lanka is as beautiful as it is diverse. To capture this imagery, we drove close to 50,000 kilometers across every state and province so that you can virtually explore this beautiful landscape from coast to coast.
Start your tour — perhaps with a cup of Ceylon tea in hand — on the winding
Beragala-Hali Ela Highway.
Home to many of the world’s best brews, you’ll be able to see people growing, picking and packing tea among the lush rolling hills along the way.
The Bergala tea estates on the Beragala-Hali Ela Highway
For even more majestic jungle and some mountain views, take a tour along the country’s first modern highway — the
. Starting in Sri Lanka’s biggest city, you will journey through some spectacular scenery as you head inland to Kandy where you can see the
relic of the tooth of Buddha
You’ll see hills, jungle and many a three-wheeler on the Colombo-Kandy road
You can then take virtual leap across the island to the Kandy-Jaffna highway, which heads out to the coast and down to the
Elephant Pass Causeway
. While you may not see any elephants, this stretch of road connecting North and South Sri Lanka gives you a 360 degree view of the Indian Ocean on either side of the road.
The Elephant Pass Causeway is surrounded by the Indian Ocean
While you’re on the coast why not check out
? This popular surfing spot in the country’s southeast is renowned for its amazing point break. If you prefer spending time on the sand rather than on a board, the sleepy little fishing village of
on the northern tip of the island has some pristine beaches to explore.
Point Pedro is home to many remote beaches
Once you’ve taken in Sri Lanka’s natural beauty, you might be ready to take in some culture. Head north to Anuradhapura, and catch a glimpse of the ancient
. Believed to have
been visited by the Buddha himself
, it was built in 140 B.C. and today remains one of the world’s tallest monuments, standing at over 100 meters.
The ancient Ruwanwelisaya Stupa peaks out from behind the trees
Why not complete your tour by heading back to Colombo where you can see
Old Parliament House
. Built during the British colonial era, it is home to the first democratic parliament, and the Independence Memorial Hall which commemorates Sri Lanka’s independence from British rule 1948.
Street View cars parked at the Independence Avenue
We hope that visiting Sri Lanka with Google Maps (available on
) will inspire a deeper appreciation for the beauty and history of this beautiful country. Whether you continue your
journey in Google Maps
or are inspired to visit in person, we invite you to enjoy the Land of Lions.
Posted by Nishant Nair, Program Manager, APAC Street View Operations
Home Sweet Treehouse
March 18, 2016
Have you ever dreamed of living in a treehouse? Maybe an igloo or a farm house? Or how about an RV—free to go wherever your wheels take you? Whatever your dream home may be, Google Maps can help make it a little less make-believe. Starting today you can customize your home and work addresses in Google Maps on Android with stickers, so your map is a little more you.
There are many benefits to saving your home and work addresses in Google Maps. You can use the new
for one-tap access to driving directions from your home screen. If you use public transportation to commute, you can stop guessing when the train will arrive with quick access to real-time transportation information.
Home and work are not the only places you can label in Google Maps. For example, if you look up the best route to avoid traffic on your way to your kid’s school, or to see when the next bus is coming to get to your friend’s house for your favorite sitcom every Thursday, or the gym on Mondays and Wednesdays, you can now label these places for quick access to directions, traffic conditions, best routes and more.
home and work
addresses and other destinations, just make sure you’re signed into your Google account. Then visit the Your Places tab or type an address, then label it. Once setup, you can just type "home", "work" or "gym" in the search bar to get directions and navigate quickly and easily from wherever you are.
What’s your dream home? If you’re a prince or princess, your castle awaits you.
Posted By: Beth Findley, Software Engineer Google Map
Your car has arrived on iOS and Android: More ways to get around with Google Maps
March 15, 2016
Navigating within major cities is never easy—it can take precious minutes to figure out whether it’s faster to hop on a bus, walk a few blocks, find a ride-sharing service, or hail a taxi. Starting today, it’s easier. When you search for directions using Google Maps on your iOS or Android device, we’ll show you a dedicated tab with information for ride services—in addition to the existing car, transit, walking, or biking options you’re familiar with. So when you’re leaving work to meet a friend for dinner, you can easily compare your options to find the fastest way there, without having to open multiple apps.
In addition to our existing global ride service partner Uber, with this update we've added new providers across five countries: 99Taxis in Brazil, Ola Cabs in India, Hailo in the UK and Spain, mytaxi in Germany and Spain, and Gett in the UK.
If you have a provider’s app installed and tap on the ride service tab, you’ll be able to see fare estimates and pick up times if a car is available near you. Select a service, and we’ll take you directly to their app for you to book your ride with one tap. When it makes sense, we’ll also show ride service availability when viewing the map in walking and transit directions, and multiple ride services options for each provider—where they exist. For example, if you’re using Uber, starting today, we’ll now show uberX, uberXL and UberBLACK for an easy and quick comparison.
UPDATED 3/24/16: The feature is now available on both Android and iOS. So next time you’re looking to move around a city, open Google Maps on your phone to figure out your fastest mode of transport to get where you’re headed.
Posted by Holger Flier, Software Engineer
The Mzansi Experience: Discover South Africa on Google Maps
March 8, 2016
Sitting at the southernmost tip of Africa, nestled between the great Indian and Atlantic Oceans ... to many, South Africa feels a world away for both Africans and international travellers. From today, you don’t need to let hours of plane travel or miles of ocean stand in the way of the “Mzansi experience:” a virtual trip to
South Africa awaits you in Google Maps
South Africa is known for its unique array of wildlife. Visiting Kruger National Park in Google Maps, you can see some of its majestic creatures as if you were there in real life. Catch a glimpse of a
grazing the plains, an
enjoying a grassy snack, and a herd of
charging against the wind. You may even spot a
, who often remain elusive to tourists and locals alike.
Elephant grazing in Kruger National Park, South Africa
, even on a cloudy day, gives you a breathtaking view of where civilization and nature collide in Cape Town. Feeling like you’re on top of the world has never been so easy as it is at
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
in the Western Cape.
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, South Africa
For the beach bums out there, South Africa is a must. With Street View, you can watch the waves break at
, gaze at the clear blue sky and water at
, go parasailing at
or just take a long walk along Durban’s
Sunset Beach, South Africa
This South African Street View tour is just a taste of these vast plains. We hope that visiting South Africa with Google Maps (available on
) will inspire a deeper appreciation for the country, its wildlife and show the beauty of the African continent. Whether you continue your
journey in Google Maps
or in person, we invite you to enjoy the views and landscapes of the
Posted by Sven Tresp, Street View Special Collections Program Manager
Tōhoku in pictures: Five years after the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami
March 6, 2016
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the
Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami
. The most
powerful quake recorded
in Japan’s history, it devastated coastal areas across northeastern parts of the country. For the last five years, Google Maps has been capturing 360-degree, panoramic imagery of these areas with Street View cameras, as well as aerial photographs. These snapshots show what has changed in the aftermath of the disaster—and what hasn’t.
You can now see updated Street View imagery from 59 cities, 19 towns and 4 villages from the
prefectures, which was collected between June 2015 and January 2016. Part of the “
Great East Japan Earthquake Digital Archive Project
," this is the third Street View imagery update since the disaster.
By using Street View technology to record, exhibit and archive the damage, we hope to give people—both those who used to live there, and those who have never been—a way to see and understand the destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami. It may also give future generations a vivid way to understand and remember what happened.
One of the areas most affected by the disaster was Fukushima prefecture. Naraha in Fukushima was an evacuation zone until September of last year, but is now being rebuilt and repopulated. The people of Naraha wanted to capture this rebuilding process, so they borrowed the Street View Trekker as part of the
Trekker loan program
so they could show the world what Naraha looks like today and share their hopes for the future.
In addition to the updated Street View imagery, we also have satellite and aerial imagery of the coast stretching from Hachinohe to Iwaki from before and after the disaster. As this timelapse with scenes from the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures shows, the road to recovery is a long one.
Miyako was one of the areas most devastated
by the tsunami
, with waters reaching at least
37.9 meters above sea leve
As this timelapse shows, the seaside town was filled with homes and businesses before the earthquake struck in 2011. Everything was swept away by the tsunami. Clearing the rubble from the disaster took years; today, most of the new houses are being built on top of the mountain, not by the sea, in case of a future tsunami.
View of Miyako from 2009 to 2016
You can see all this imagery, as well as Street View images of these areas from before the disaster on the Google Maps "
Memories for the Future
Posted by Wakaba Ohkura, Google Street View Program Manager
The Last Great Race in Street View
March 3, 2016
Every March, dozens of competitors and hundreds of dogs gather in Anchorage, Alaska for the start of a dog sled race that travels more than 1,000 miles to the
west coast city of Nome
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
requires the sled drivers or “mushers” to safely guide their dogs across the wilderness of Alaska through steep mountainous terrain, extremes of weather, and days of sleep deprivation. A British reporter covering the 1978 Iditarod tagged it “The Last Great Race on Earth.”
The Street View camera heads towards the first checkpoint onboard sled #80
The Iditarod Trail is a
National Historic trail
that evolved as busy winter highway as people flocked to Alaska during the gold rush of the 1890s and 1900s. During the months that ocean access to western communities was frozen, dog sleds delivered groceries, mail, and even the preacher. On their return trip, they hauled gold and furs all the way to Anchorage or Fairbanks. On some days more than a hundred sleds headed over the Alaska Range, traveling 50 or more miles a day. Like the stagecoaches of the Old West, the mushers would stop at roadhouses along the route to rest and feed the dogs, and themselves.
At the checkpoint the musher’s first responsibility is to make sure his sled team is fed and rested.
Straw is used to provide insulation from the cold ground and special wraps help keep the dogs warm.
Despite the long history of mushing in Alaska, the development of snow machines in the 1960s removed its role as a major mode of transportation, and it became primarily a recreational activity. The
evolved as a way to save both sled dog culture and the heritage of the Iditarod Trail. Competitors and their
dog sled teams travel from checkpoint to checkpoint
, just like the freight sleds did in years past. And just like those times, it’s not always an easy ride—the terrain and variable weather conditions present real challenges for the mushers, which the Google Trekker camera discovered for itself during the 2015 Iditarod.
The Google Street View Trekker wanders free near the Galena checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail
Due to unseasonably warm weather conditions over Anchorage and the Alaska Range, the route of the 2015 race was switched to begin in Fairbanks, Alaska. At the traditional “ceremonial start” (held in Anchorage), a special sled #80 driven by
, the 1984 Iditarod Champion, towed a second sled with a Googler wearing the trekker. The slushy conditions led to an 11-mile adventure complete with
. Sometimes our mission to map the whole world is harder than it looks!
Learning from this experience, we later successfully navigated the first 60-mile leg of the official 2015 route. Now you can follow our mushing adventures in
, explore the rural Alaska
communities of Galena, Unalakleet and Nome
, and see the race checkpoints and finish line—all in Google Street View. This cold-weather adventure is literally at your fingertips directly from your mobile device when you download the Google Map for Mobile app on
. And if you’re in the area in person, you can also explore and navigate to other popular spots across Anchorage and Fairbanks. Hike!
Posted by John Bailey, Program Manager for Google Geo Education
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