A day after its Street View cars were mistakenly accused of donkeycide in Botswana, Google today announced that the cars have now made their way through hundreds of “cities, towns, villages, heritage sites and tourist attractions across Israel.” As far as we know, no donkeys were harmed in the process.
Google launched its first Street View imagery in Israel in April 2012, but the collection was rather limited at the time and mostly focused on Jerusalem , Tel Aviv, Haifa, Kfar Kama, Merhavia, Nahsholim and Beër Sjeva. Today’s update vastly expands this collection, though the overall coverage still isn’t quite as comprehensive as it is for some other countries.
What’s worth noting, however, is that today’s release also includes imagery from a number of museums, including Haifa’s National Museum of Science, Technology & Space and the Holocaust Museum at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, as well as a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the ancient Nabataean cities of Mamshit and Shivta. Ulf Spitzer, Google’s Street View program manager, also notes that the company hopes to “expand coverage to still more of the region’s sites, streets, cities and towns in the future.”
Launching Street View in Israel was actually not easy for Google. The company spent months negotiating with Israel’s Ministry of Justice in 2011 and had to make a number of concessions before it was allowed to start collecting its data. The country’s government, unsurprisingly, was concerned about Google taking photos of sensitive installations