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Google and UNESCO team up to put World Heritage sites in Street View, Google Earth and Google Maps

Paris, 3rd December: Today, Google and UNESCO they will team up to put imagery of World Heritage sites into Street View. New imagery for 19 UNESCO sites has been made available, from sites in Czech Republic, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. The 360 degree images are now online for people around the world to explore via Google Maps.

Google and UNESCO also announced layers for Google Earth and Google Maps with customised icons and information bubbles, allowing web users to locate and zoom to hundreds of sites with World heritage status around the globe, all linking back to UNESCO’s detailed webpage.

In the coming months Google will work with UNESCO to select additional World Heritage landmarks, in countries where Street View imagery is being collected, which will be photographed for the project. The aim is to collect imagery from diverse regions throughout the world including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, US and many countries throughout Europe. With permission from site managers such places look set to one day be available to millions of people around the world who may never have the chance to visit them in person.

It’s hoped that putting UNESCO’s world heritage sites on Street View will help increase awareness and encourage participation by people around the world in the preservation of our cultural and natural heritage

Google uses state of the art camera technology attached to the roof of a car in order to collect these images. They are then processed, stitched together and put into Google Maps, a process which can take several months. Where access by car is not possible, or locations are off the beaten track, Google uses its custom made ‘trike’ – a three wheeled bike mounted with a camera, to take the images. For example, the trike was used to collect imagery at Stonehenge and Pompei.

“World Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. It reminds us of the extraordinary world we live in, and humanity’s creative genius and cultural diversity,” said Francesco Bandarin, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre. “The alliance between UNESCO and, Google Maps and Street View will provide access for people the world over to these remarkable places.”

Carlo D’Asaro Biondo, Google’s VP of Southern Europe, Middle East & Africa said, “Cultural and natural heritage sites are a source of inspiration and fascination for all of us, teaching us about our global history. This is an exciting project and we’re thrilled to be working together with UNESCO, to make more World Heritage sites universally accessible and useful to all.”

From today people can virtually walk along the banks of the Seine. From the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, from the Place de la Concorde to the Grand and Petit Palais, the evolution of Paris and its history can be seen from its banks. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Sainte Chapelle are architectural masterpieces while Haussmann’s wide squares and boulevards influenced late 19th- and 20th-century town planning the world over.

They can also swoop over to Italy to explore the two flourishing Roman towns of Pompei and Herculaneum, as well as the many wealthy villas in the area that have been engulfed by Vesuvius eruption on 24 August AD 79. These have been progressively excavated and made accessible to the public since the mid-18th century and are now available for all with a simple click of a mouse.

Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, one of the most famous groups of megaliths in the world is another locations that can be discovered today. The circles of menhirs are arranged in a pattern whose astronomical significance is still being explored. These holy places and the nearby Neolithic sites are an incomparable testimony to prehistoric times.

Other unique and diverse places visible in Street View include the Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout in Nederland, the old town of Cáceres in Spain and the historic Center of Prague in Czech Republic and many more.

Google works in partnership with landmarks and attractions in several countries to put them on the map. The Street View partnership programme is available for sign up here: maps.google.co.uk/streetviewpartners

The UNESCO heritage sites in Street View:

About UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded in 1945 and it has 193 Member States. One of its main mandates is to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is the goal of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, an international treaty adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

About Google Inc.

Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit www.google.com.

Media contact and requests for images and video footage:

Laura Scott,
laurascott@google.com,
0207 031 3049 / 0207 031 3130