Travel

Google Street View is letting us see heritage sites in a new way

City Press

For travellers who are uncertain about where to travel to next, #TrekSouthAfrica might help you decide.

On Tuesday, 22 August, Google South Africa launched a 360-degree Street View images gallery called Discover South Africa.

The images allow viewers to access four heritage sites from the comfort of their own homes, creating an online library that provides invaluable information for adventurous folk.

SEE: Google Street View: 'Discover South Africa', a visual experience of four amazing sites

The sites are Chapman’s Peak lookout point in the Table Mountain National Park, Lanner Gorge in the north of the Kruger National Park, Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga and the Tugela Gorge Hike in the Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal.

Using Google’s Street View in maps, users are able to discover the natural beauty of sites which were previously not available on Google maps. The images have all been captured on a not-so-small but rather efficient device called the Street View Trekker.

What makes these images so spectacular?

Well, for starters, the Trekker was designed specifically for use during hikes or walks, in locations that can’t be reached by car. This means that real-time images are then captured by the 15 cameras mounted at the top of the 1.2m prop, which hangs about 60cm above the wearer’s head as they walk. This elevated height ensures that images are captured without the interference of the person who walks wearing the device, while a tool called ground fill generates an artificial floor for any street view.

The images are then stitched together and loaded on to Google’s database of images, which is already available in more than 82 countries.

#TrekSouthAfrica aims to trek more than 20 national parks, eight Unesco World Heritage Sites and other famous sites over the next six months. 

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