The Archeological Survey of India has joined hands with Google India for an endeavour to create a 360 degree online panoramic imagery of 100 “nationally-important monuments” in the country, like the Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, and other monuments such as the Taj Mahal and Khajuraho and the Ajanta and Ellora caves too.
Google and the Ministry of Culture recently signed a memorandum at the Qutub Minar complex as the first step towards the project, which would see the company creating an application using its ‘Street View Trekker’ technology for the first time in India.
“The collaboration, which will create virtual walkthroughs of our sites, is a gigantic step, and with ASI completing its 150th year, this will prove to be a big milestone for us,” said the Union Minister of Culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch at the project’s launch. “The aim of this project is to bring the heritage of our country closer to the people and to disseminate among the youth our rich cultural legacy”, he added.
Commenting on the criteria for choosing the sites, Katoch said, “100 nationally-important monuments have been chosen on priority basis... the list will soon be finalised”. “With this, rural India will be able to see heritage online despite time and distance constraints,” says the Vice-President and Managing Director of Google India, Rajan Anandan.
The ‘Street View Trekker’ has been used to create “virtual walkthroughs” for sites like Eiffel Tower in France, Grand Canyon in the US, and Mt Fuji in Japan. “With this technology, we create an online exhibition in which we have authorised data to contextualise the view and the site evolves into story-telling instead of just plain viewing,” says Google Cultural Institute Director Amit Sood.
Once published, the imagery will be available on GoogleMaps and on the World Wonders site, part of the Google Cultural Institute, which began some time last year.