It’s hard to believe that Google’s Street View has been in use for over four years. What’s more amazing, perhaps, given the rate at which they have canvassed the world’s streets and alleyways, that there is anywhere left unmapped. But while their teams have successfully traced the surfaces of most large cities and a number of other interesting areas, I suppose it won’t come as a surprise that the remote reaches of the Amazon have not yet been put under the lens.
They aim to change that, however, and have detailed in a blog post their plans to Street-View-ize a large section of the river. It’s being done in collaboration with the Foundation for a Sustainable Amazon, a nonprofit working in the area.
To map the entire length of the Amazon, its tributaries, and distributaries, is the work of years, however, so Google won’t be attempting that just yet (though there are plenty of spots to drop the orange guy if you’re curious). For now, they’re focusing their efforts on a 50km stretch of the Rio Negro starting around Manaus, right about at the center of this image:
They’ll also be going down the dirt paths to small villages with the Street View Trike, mapping all the while, and will set up the tripod they use to show business interiors to give a panoramic taste of village life. And as a little parting shot of charity, they’ll be leaving behind some equipment, probably some cameras and laptops, for FAS and the locals to use. The whole thing is sort of a publicity play for sustainability, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
No word on when the project will be complete — from what I’ve read (travelogues from the 1800s, but still), these kinds of trips generally take longer than expected — but you can see some more pictures of their work over at the Google blog post.