The Great Barrier Reef

One of many spots where you can dive underwater with Street View, letting you view the natural wonder without causing any damage to it.

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The Great Barrier Reef collection was part of the first group of underwater panoramic images added to Google Maps, the next step in our quest to provide people with the most comprehensive, accurate and usable map of the world. With these vibrant and stunning photos you don’t have to be a scuba diver—or even know how to swim—to explore and experience six of the ocean’s most incredible living coral reefs. Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays.

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Starting today, you can use Google Maps to find a sea turtle swimming among a school of fish, follow a manta ray, and experience the reef at sunset. You can also find out much more about this reef via the World Wonders Project, a website that brings modern and ancient world heritage sites online.

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We partnered with The Catlin Seaview Survey, a major scientific study of the world’s reefs, to make these amazing images available to millions of people through the Street View feature of Google Maps. The Catlin Seaview Survey used a specially designed underwater camera, the SVII, to capture these photos. Whether you’re a marine biologist, an avid scuba diver or a landlocked landlubber, we encourage you to dive in and explore the ocean with Google Maps.

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Canal Grande of Venice

The Grand Canal is a canal in Venice, Italy. It forms one of the major water-traffic corridors in the city. Public transport is provided by water buses (Italian: vaporetti; Venetian: vaporeti) and private water taxis, and many tourists explore the canal by gondola.

One end of the canal leads into the lagoon near the Santa Lucia railway station and the other end leads into Saint Mark Basin; in between, it makes a large reverse-S shape through the central districts (sestieri) of Venice. It is 3.8 km long, and 30 to 90 m wide, with an average depth of five meters (16.5 ft).

The banks of the Grand Canal are lined with more than 170 buildings, most of which date from the 13th to the 18th century, and demonstrate the welfare and art created by the Republic of Venice. The noble Venetian families faced huge expenses to show off their richness in suitable palazzos; this contest reveals the citizens’ pride and the deep bond with the lagoon. Amongst the many are the Palazzi Barbaro, Ca’ Rezzonico, Ca’ d’Oro, Palazzo Dario, Ca’ Foscari, Palazzo Barbarigo and to Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, housing the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The churches along the canal include the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. Centuries-old traditions, such as the Historical Regatta (it), are perpetuated every year along the Canal.

Because most of the city’s traffic goes along the Canal rather than across it, only one bridge crossed the canal until the 19th century, the Rialto Bridge. There are currently three more bridges, the Ponte degli Scalzi, the Ponte dell’Accademia, and the controversial Ponte della Costituzione from 2008, designed by Santiago Calatrava, connecting the train station to Piazzale Roma, one of the few places in Venice where buses and cars can enter. As was usual in the past, people can still take a ferry ride across the canal at several points by standing up on the deck of a simple gondola called a traghetto, although this service is less common than even a decade ago.

Most of the palaces emerge from water without pavement. Consequently, one can only tour past the fronts of the buildings on the grand canal by boat.

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Source: Wikipedia

Crystal Mountain

There are plenty of skiing resorts and piste routes on Street View, but we’ve picked out just one: Crystal Mountain resort in Washington state.

Crystal Mountain is a mountain and alpine ski area in the western United States, in the Cascade Range of Washington, southeast of Seattle.

Located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Crystal is the largest ski resort in the state and is readily accessible from the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area through Enumclaw via Highway 410. It is primarily a day-use area, with nine chairlifts, various dining locations, and multiple hotels. Crystal is home to the Mt. Rainier Gondola; installed in 2010, it provides year-round access to the resort’s summit and is the state’s only high-speed gondola.Crystal Mountain is owned and operated by Boyne Resorts, a private Michigan-based resort company.

The ski resort is located in the valley of the Silver Creek, a tributary of the White River, and on the east and north east slopes of Crystal Mountain. The main summit of Crystal Mountain, also called Silver King, is 7,002 ft (2,134 m) high in the summer (NAVD88 elevation) and is the highest land in a 5-mile (8 km) radius. Subsidiary peaks on the north ridge of Silver King are The Throne (6,861 ft (2,091 m)), Silver Queen (ca. 6,990 ft (2,130 m)), Grubstake Point (ca. 6,875 ft (2,095 m)) and North Way Peak (6,780 ft (2,065 m)). The latter three can be reached by ski lifts, and the resort has a Summit House on a shoulder just south of Grubstake. The summits offer an unobstructed view of Mount Rainier, which is less than 13 miles (20 km) west-south-west.

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Source: Wikipedia

Nasir Al Mulk Mosque

One of the most beautiful places of worship in the world, and now accessible to anyone thanks to the interior shots available in Google Street View.
The Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque also known as the Pink Mosque, is a traditional mosque in Shiraz, Iran. It is located at the district of Gowad-e-Arabān, near Shāh Chérāgh Mosque.

The mosque includes extensive colored glass in its facade, and displays other traditional elements such as the Panj Kāse (“five concaved”) design. It is named in popular culture as the Pink Mosque, due to the usage of considerable pink color tiles for its interior design.

The mosque was built during the Qajar era, and is still in use under protection by Endowment Foundation of Nasir ol Molk. It was built from 1876 to 1888, by the order of Mirzā Hasan Ali (Nasir ol Molk), a Qajar ruler. The designers were Mohammad Hasan-e-Memār, an Iranian architect, and Mohammad Rezā Kāshi-Sāz-e-Širāzi.

Source: Wikipedia

 

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon really needs to be seen to be believed, but if that’s not possible for you then the Street View cameras have you covered.

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The Grand Canyon was our inaugural collection using the Street View Trekker. The Trekker, our latest imagery-gathering apparatus, is a wearable backpack system that allows us to venture to locations only accessible by foot. The ability to take Street View to remote, hard-to-navigate places, such as the Grand Canyon, is a major opportunity to make the beauty and history of locations like these accessible to a global audience.

 

The rugged terrain, ridges and steep trails of the Grand Canyon are the perfect setting to showcase the functionality of the Trekker. The narrow trails would be inaccessible to our traditional Street View cars, trikes, and trolleys, but is perfect for the wearable Trekker backpack. The compact size of the Trekker makes it unobtrusive and easy to maneuver, while automatically gathering images as it goes. The Trekker is operated by an Android device and consists of 15 lenses at the top of the mast, each angled in a different direction that will enable us to stitch together a 360-degree panoramic view.

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It took a team of 10 Googlers and 5 Trekkers about 3 full days to adequately capture the main trails of the Grand Canyon’s south rim. Two Trekker teams hiked down the Bright Angel Trail, camped overnight at Phantom Ranch, and then hiked out the next day along the South Kaibab Trail. Another three Trekker teams remained at the top of the Grand Canyon collecting imagery around the rim as well as the South Rim Trail. Our team also ventured out to collect imagery of Meteor Crater, just outside Grand Canyon National Park.

Toroweap Overlook

To continue making Google Maps as comprehensive and accurate as possible, we’re eager to take the Trekker still more places only accessible by foot. We look forward to sharing future collections with you that showcase more unique places around the world – from forest trails to the steps of ancient castles, and beyond.

Machu Picchu

Wander the Peruvian mountains like the Incas used to: Google’s Street View cameras go right into the ruined city, and therefore so can you.

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Machu Picchu  is a 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Peru, above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows.
Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas” (a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.

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Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of how they originally appeared. By 1976, thirty percent of Machu Picchu had been restored and restoration continues.

Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll.

In the Quechua language, machu means “old” or “old person”, while picchu means “peak; mountain or prominence with a broad base that ends in sharp peaks”, hence the name of the site means “old peak”.
Machu Picchu was built around 1450, at the height of the Inca.Its construction appears to date to the period of the two great Inca rulers, Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui (1438–71) and Túpac Inca Yupanqui (1472–93).It was abandoned just over 100 years later, in 1572, as a belated result of the Spanish Conquest.It is possible that most of its inhabitants died from smallpox introduced by travellers before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the area.

Although it was located only about 80 kilometers (50 mi) from the Inca capital in Cusco, the Spanish never found Machu Picchu and so did not plunder or destroy it, as they did many other sites. The conquistadors had notes of a place called Piccho, although no record of a Spanish visit exists. The types of sacred rocks defaced by the conquistadors in other locations are untouched at Machu Picchu.

Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle overgrew the site, and few outside the immediate area knew of its existence. The site may have been discovered and plundered in 1867 by a German businessman, Augusto Berns. Some evidence indicates that German engineer J. M. von Hassel arrived earlier. Maps show references to Machu Picchu as early as 1874.

In 1911 American historian and explorer Hiram Bingham travelled the region looking for the old Inca capital and was shown to Machu Picchu by a local farmer. Bingham brought Machu Picchu to international attention and organized another expedition in 1912 to undertake major clearing and excavation. He returned in 1914 and 1915 to continue with excavation.

In 1981, Peru declared an area of 325.92 square kilometres (125.84 sq mi) surrounding Machu Picchu a “Historical Sanctuary”. In addition to the ruins, the sanctuary includes a large portion of the adjoining region, rich with the flora and fauna of the Peruvian Yungas and Central Andean wet puna ecoregions.

In 1983, UNESCO designated Machu Picchu a World Heritage Site, describing it as “an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization”.

The Photography at CERN Is Helping Solve the Mysteries of the Universe

Everyone’s favorite mega-machine, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, is meant to help humans some of the most basic questions about the nature of our world. How it goes about this is—in a word—complex. But part of it involves a bit of good old-fashioned (kind of) photography.

This documentary put out by the Carnegie Museum of Art takes you inside a couple of different projects at the LHC, both of which use photography in their study of particle physics. One such project is AEgIS, which uses analog photographic emulsion to capture the trajectories of anti-protons as they are smashed into a surface. The other project is the ATLAS Pixel Detector, which is actually an enormous digital camera.

In the process of all this science, some really interesting questions are raised about the nature of photography. Not gonna lie, this video gets deep, and it could turn your brain into a pretzel. It’s a 24 minutes that is entirely worth watching, for art and for science!

This video is the final episode of the Invisible Photograph series of docs, which explore the nature of photography in various forms. You can see previous episodes, which are all fantastic.

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Source: gizmodo.com

Go Inside the Lamborghini Museum With Google Street View

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Prepare to have your afternoon wasted. Lamborghini has opened up its Sant’Agata museum to the all-seeing eyes of Google Street View, and not only can you see 50 years of Lamborghini hotness, you can actually get inside some of the marque’s most legendary machines.

Covering 16,000 square feet over two floors, you’ll get an eyeful of everything Lamborghini has ever made, including the Miura SV, Countach, Diablo, LM002 SUV, and concepts. Even better, several vehicles have their interiors mapped, so you can get a 360-degree view of the insane interior of the Sesto Elemento concept, do your best Rocky impression inside the LM002, or bask in the carbon fiber glow of the Reventon. Scale models, V12s, and even a marine engine are included in the exhibit, and all it takes is a click — far cheaper than a round-trip ticket to Italy.maxresdefault

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GOOGLE STREET VIEW CAN NOW TAKE YOU INSIDE A VOLCANO

Usually, Google Street View feature is used to see a potential destination from the perspective of a car, but now the feature can be used to see the inside of a volcano on a remote island.

The newest addition to Street View allows for users to explore the Vanuatuan island of Ambrym. Located thousands of miles east of Australia, the country of Vanuatu is an archipelago of 80 tiny islands.

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Marum crater’s lava lake can now be seen on Google Street View

Source: abc7.com

Google Street View’s Window into How Americans Vote (Look at the Cars)

LED BY FEI-FEI Li, the director of the Stanford University artificial intelligence lab and a newly minted Google employee, a team of academics recently explored a new way of tracking socioeconomic trends across the US. Rather than knocking on doors and asking questions, they pulled more than 50 million photos from Google Street View and fed them into neural networks. The results were promising. Simply by identifying the make, model, and year of automobiles appearing in the photos, the researchers said, their tech could accurately estimate the income, race, education, and voting patterns of citizens in particular precincts.

If the number of sedans on a short stretch of road exceeded the number pickup trucks, for instance, they found that a city was 88 percent likely to vote for a Democrat during the next presidential election. If pickups exceeded sedans, a city was 82 percent likely vote Republican. “Our results suggest that automated systems for monitoring demographic trends may effectively complement labor-intensive approaches, with the potential to detect trends with fine spatial resolution, in close to real time,” the researchers write in a recently-released paper detailing this study.

Fei-Fei and her colleagues declined to discuss their project because the paper is still under peer review. But their work reflects a much larger effort to gain more insight into broad societal and economic trends through new sources of data, crowdsourcing, and machine learning. In the years to come, machines—not statisticians—will paint the more accurate picture of how humans think, live, and spend.

At a San Francisco startup called Premise, machines parse data collected by an army of people spread across the world, building real-time consumer price indexes. A Palo Alto startup, Orbital Insight, uses artificial intelligence to analyze photos taken by satellites, identifying economic trends from what it finds. And various other researchers have predicted unemployment rates and poverty using everything from Twitter to cellphone metadata.

Fei-Fei and her collaborators see their methods as a replacement for the American Community Survey, a $250 million-a-year study conducted by the US Census Bureau that identifies a vast array of American demographic trends. Online data and machine learning, the researchers say, will reduce the cost of door-to-door demographic studies like these while providing greater accuracy. Door-to-door surveys, after all, don’t operate in real time. They’re out of date before they’re finished.

The methods outlined in Fei-Fei’s study still require some on-the-ground data gathering to establish a baseline from which AI-powered techniques can extrapolate. But most of the process is automated. Well-trained neural networks can recognize the make, model, and year of cars in photos with much greater efficiency than humans. As described in the paper, the system needs only one-fifth of a second to sort a vehicle into any of 2,657 categories.

But if Street View photos offer one kind of insight, the view from space offers another path to automated forecasting. Orbital Insight now tracks 250,000 parking lots outside 96 retail chains across the country and uses the number of cars in lots as an indicator of company health. This quarter, for instance, the number of cars in JCPenney lots fell 10 percent. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the retailer just announced the closure of about 130 stores amid declining sales. Premise, meanwhile, pays a network of people across the developing world to collect economic data on the ground—the price of canned coffee in a particular town, for instance, or the freshness of the lettuce on sale in another. Using machine learning techniques similar to those used to analyze Street View and satellite images, the company can then looks for price patterns.

Apply these methods across multiple retailers and multiple industries, and you have what starts to look like an unprecedented collection of economic indicators. Machines can detect patterns that humans can’t, or at least with much greater speed and accuracy. As they get smarter, the promise is that these automated forecasts will provide a foundation not just for better economic planning but a better democracy. In a political climate beset by deniers of facts, the hope remains that better information will yield better decisions by the people with the power to make them.

Source: www.wired.com