Tech Inspiration: Intrepid Street View

Welcome to the first of a new weekly feature at Idealog, where we highlight interesting, innovative, and intrepid technology projects from around the world in the hopes of inspiring our incandescent readers.

Kicking off Tech Inspiration for 2013 is an initiative that's spent the last five years mapping the streets of the world to help us navigationally-challenged types get to where we need to be - Google Street View.

Since its release in the States in 2007, Street View cars, bikes, and snowmobiles have mapped more than 8 million kilometres of road in over 40 countries. Using multiple cameras, GPS, and photo stitiching software, Google has created interactive 3D tours of major city centres around the globe. 

More recently the search engine giant has had its Street View team visit places off the beaten track. In the past two years, Google has teamed up with UNESCO to map world heritage sites, opening up parts of the world to many who would otherwise be unable to go there. Below we feature some of the best.

Scott's Hutt, Antarctica

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In July 2012, Google released some spectacular videos, photos, and maps from the coldest place on earth - The Antarctic. 

Five locations were mapped, including one of Captain Scott's modular huts from his infamous (and tragic) expedition to reach the South Pole. 

South Pole Telescope

Ceremonial South Pole

Penguin Rookery

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

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The Great Barrier Reef was Street Viewed in September last year, opening up the massive underwater ecosystem to virtual divers for the first time.

The project was partially funded by an insurance company, and used a submersible vehicle with wide angle cameras taking photos at four-second intervals to create the images.

Enryaku-ji Temple, Japan

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The Enryaku-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. At its height in the early 1300s, the temple housed thousands of warrior monks fighting for and against local shogunates.

Yosemite National Park, USA

Dominated by the Sierra Nevada Mountains to its east, the national park provides stunning views along steep cliffs.

Home to over 1000 archeological sites, the park is also an area of historical significance documenting the stories of local tribes before the arrival of Europeans to the Americas.

Stonehenge, UK

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A tool for measuring the path of the Sun, or a beacon for the gods? You can take a look and judge for yourself with this immersive map of the area.

What are some of your favourite Street View locations? 

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