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It’s not every day that you find an elephant in Street View, or for that matter get to visit most of the new soccer stadiums in one day. But from today people can do both with Google’s newly released Street View images and 3D models in Google Earth.
Seven of South Africa’s new football stadiums, including Soccer City in Johannesburg, Peter Mokaba in Polokwane and Moses Mabhida in Durban are now available to explore from pitch-level in 360 degrees, both inside and out. These detailed images were collected over the last few months, using the Google Street View Trikes and some serious pedal power.
Street View images are also available of around 27 South African towns and cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth, helping tourists get to know the local area or navigate their way to their hotel. Top tourist attractions can now be explored in detail too — there’s dramatic coastal scenery in the Cape; the urban buzz of Soweto, home to Nelson Mandela; or the world renowned Kruger National Park, to wander at your leisure.
Julie Taylor, Communications Manager for Google South Africa, says: “This is a first for Africa, and a really exciting development for South Africans, who can now explore their country in new ways, whether a local neighbourhood in the city or a scenic costal route they’ve never seen. But it’s also going to be a massive bonus for the tourism industry, especially with all the international visitors arriving in South Africa. Tourists will be able to take a look at sights and stadiums before they get here, while the rest of the world can enjoy the view from their mobile phone or PC.”
Roshene Singh, Chief Marketing Officer at South Africa Tourism adds, “We’re delighted that Street View has arrived in South Africa. Whether you’re looking at Cape coastal scenery, the Blyde River Canyon, or at our state-of-the-art new soccer stadiums, Street View is going to be an excellent tool for the tourism industry at large.”
Kruger National Park’s William Mabasa says Kruger is an iconic South African destination, and the launch of Street View in South Africa means that we can bring Kruger’s spectacular wildlife to even more people around the globe.
“In fact, our elephants are the first elephants ever on Street View!” he says.
To access Street View images, go to http://maps.google.com, type the address into the maps search bar, or zoom into where you want to go, and drag the orange “Pegman” icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street. To learn more about Street View, visit www.google.co.za/streetview. The site is available in English, isiZulu and Afrikaans.
World cup stadiums
Those who can’t be at the games in person can visit the region virtually, in 3D with Google Earth, which is available for the cities of Rustenburg, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, and Johannesburg. All 10 of the World Cup stadiums have also been modelled in amazing 3D detail, allowing fans to fly in and out of these brand new state-of-the-art sports venues. To access the 3D imagery simply turn on the 3D buildings layer in Google Earth or switch to Earth View in Google Maps, and zoom in to the chosen destination.
Finally, if you just want to find a great place to watch the match with your friends then take a look on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/worldcup) and look for the football icons. This tells you the location is one of tens of thousands of businesses who have added themselves to Google Places as a soccer viewing location.
Google has gone to lengths to safeguard privacy while allowing users to benefit from this feature. Street View only contains imagery that is already visible from public roads and features technology that blurs both faces and licence plates. In addition, any user can easily flag images for removal that he or she considers inappropriate by clicking on “Report a problem”.