Google shows tsunami-struck Japan through Street View

13 Dec 2011

Google has delivered on a promise to capture in 360-degree panoramic views the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Street View teams roamed across 44,000 kilometres to capture the images.

As well as being viewable through the Street View feature on Google Maps, the images are also available on a special website titled ‘Build the Memory’, where users can compare before-and-after shots of the towns changed by the events in March.

In the bottom left corner of each image, users will see a month and year that tells them when a particular photograph was taken.

“When looking at images of the magnificent cities side by side with images of the ruins left in their place, this additional context demonstrates how truly life changing this tragedy has been for those who live there and witnessed the destruction of their homes, neighbourhoods and even entire districts,” explained Kei Kawai, a senior product manager at Street View.

“This timestamp feature has been the most-requested Street View feature for the last few years, and it is now available on Street View imagery worldwide. Professionals such as historians, architects, city planners and tourism boards – as well as regular users, including travellers and home buyers – can now get a sense of how fresh the online photos are for a locations that interest them,” Kawai said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years