Tech giant Google launched their Street View imagery of Sri Lanka on Google Maps that will allow users to view and experience 360-degree panoramic imagery of the country from their phones, tablets and computers.
With addition of Sri Lanka, Street View is now available in 76 countries, including the US, Japan and South Korea. Street View allows users to see how a city or a place looks like in real. Using cars and bikes fitted with cameras to collect imagery, Google collects and stitches the photos accumulated together to make the 360-degree panorama.
Interestingly, Street View is not available in India. The company had launched the service in 2011 in India, but later suspended it following an order from the police.
“Google began driving in Sri Lanka in December 2014 and finished collecting imagery in February this year. From the bustle of downtown Colombo, to the cool tea plantation hills, Sri Lanka’s landscape is as beautiful as it is diverse,” Google Public Policy Manager Helena Lersch said.
“To capture this imagery, Google drove close to 50,000 km across every state and province so you can virtually explore this beautiful landscape from coast to coast,” she added.
She, however, did not say if and when the service would be launched in India.
“Sri Lanka is already a popular tourist destination, and we hope Street View will make the country even more accessible to people interested in exploring and visiting here. We are delighted to bring imagery of Sri Lanka to Street View on Google Maps,” she said.
Sri Lanka has become a burgeoning popular tourism destination, with the numbers of tourists heading to the island nation growing by almost 20 per cent each year. In 2015, 1.8 million tourists visited the country.
In 2011, Google had launched Street View service in India and had begun collecting images of streets by driving across the city in specially designed cars and trikes, (three-wheel pedi-cab) possessing high resolution cameras on top of the vehicle. The images were to be made available at a later date in Street View on Google Maps.
However, Bengaluru police had objected to the data collection by Google’s cars due to security concerns.
Certain reports suggest that the US-based company may relaunch Street View in India with certain riders, leaving out sensitive locations like defence installations, nuclear sites and some other high-valued spots as part of the service.
Google offers a virtual walkthrough across some tourist sites in India like Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Mysore Palace.