Kew Gardens among top UK landmarks now avaliable on Google Street View.
Press release, 2 December 2009
Specially collected imagery of iconic British locations has been made available for people to explore in Google Street View, for the first time. Now you can check out the set of Britain's best loved TV soap, discover top British landmarks – such as Kew Gardens – or take a virtual spin around Lotus' test track, with just a click of your mouse.
The imagery includes the top tourist treasures voted for by the British public in Google and VisitBritain's online poll this summer, all of which were photographed using the Google Trike. The winners that can be seen online today are: Stonehenge, Millennium Stadium, Angel of the North, Eden Project, Warwick Castle and 'wildcard' Bamburgh Castle. Other popular winner Loch Ness has taken the Street View team a little longer to collect, due to its size, but Google is processing the imagery and is excited to make it available as soon as possible next year.
You might never be able to visit it in person, but now that the set of Coronation Street is on the virtual map, its millions of fans can explore it as if they were the characters in the programme.
Sian Jones, Brand Manager, Platforms and Online, ITV, said, “We know that it's important to Corrie fans to be in the know about their favourite soap and we're really proud to be the first UK soap to open their doors to the Google Street View cameras. Allowing fans to explore the iconic Coronation Street cobbles gets them closer to the action and the drama that goes on in the nation's favourite soap.”
Nature fans and gardening fanatics can find inspiration by navigating the paths of Kew Gardens'' 326 acre site. Take in the largest collection of plants in the world – 30,000 different species, including 14,000 trees – and iconic structures such as the Palm House and Pagoda.
Professor Stephen Hopper, Director, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said, "Street View will provide a fascinating view of Kew Gardens, both for those planning a visit and for those who just want see how beautiful it looks! It's also a great example of how we're using digital technologies to not only increase the accessibility of Kew's wonderful landscape but also provide access to the wealth of 250 years worth of plant knowledge and scientific information we hold to help conservation programmes around the world."
Also accessible in the 360 degrees is the UK 's first virtual race track in Street View. Lotus invited Google to take to the track alongside their cars and capture them in action.
Nigel Marshall, Head of Facilities Management for Lotus, said, “We decided to give Street View users an opportunity to look around part of the Lotus HQ and to virtually drive the Hethel Test Track. Only a select number of drivers have driven the Lotus circuit over the years, but now anyone can get a closer look at where some of the most iconic British sports and racing cars have been tested and developed. To see some dynamic track-driving of the Lotus 2-Eleven just check out the North Hairpin!”
Google's Geospatial Technologist, Ed Parsons said, "Whether planning a visit, reminiscing about a recent trip or simply learning about the history of Britain , we hope these locations will be given a boost by being the first special collections to be made available on Street View in the UK."
Stuart Maughan, Head of Visitor Operations at Stonehenge , added, “We're delighted that Stonehenge won the public's vote to appear on Google Street View. The virtual tour offers a great look at this awe-inspiring site, one of the world's most recognisable historic monuments. We're hoping this new technology will help make Stonehenge even more accessible and widen its appeal as a visitor attraction. Nothing beats the feeling of having 5,000 years of history right in front of you.”
Chris Calvert, Bamburgh Castle , commented, "We're really excited about seeing the castle on Street View, that one of the countries longest permanently occupied sites should be part of this state of the art technology is brilliant.”
Alex Luff, venue sales manager, Millennium Stadium, said, "It's been a great ten years at the Millennium Stadium and what better way to share this with our worldwide fans than a spot on the popular Google Map on our tenth anniversary. We are delighted with the enormous support from the British public and proud of our reputation as a must-visit tourist attraction.”
A VisitBritain spokesperson said, "It's fantastic that Google users from all over the world will be able to use Street View to virtually visit some of Britain's superb visitor attractions, it's a great way to inspire people to explore Britain."
Google works in partnership with landmarks and attractions all over the world to put them on the map. The Street View partnership programme enables other landmarks and attractions to sign up to be photographed by Google and is accessible here .
In areas where Street View is available, you can access street-level imagery by zooming into the lowest level on Google Maps, or by dragging the orange "Pegman" icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street.
Google protects people's privacy by applying automatic face-blurring and licence plate blurring to Street View images. In addition, people can easily flag images for additional blurring or removal by clicking on "Report a problem" on the bottom left of the image.
- Images of Kew Gardens are available from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew press office +44 (0)208 332 5605 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
- The Google Trike is a custom-designed 3-wheeled bike equipped with a Street View camera. It's designed to make special imagery collections in places less accessible by cars, such as historic landmarks.
- Google & VisitBritain started the online poll in summer by asking the British public to name their top tourist treasures within 5 categories; Castles, Coastal Paths, Natural Wonders, Historic Buildings & Monuments and (Sports) Stadiums.
- 10,000+ suggestions were initially received and whittled down to 16 which went to the final public vote.
- Over 35 thousand votes were then received in the final vote to decide which the Google trike should visit first, resulting in 6 winners and 1 wildcard: Stonehenge, Millennium Stadium, Angel of the North, Loch Ness, Eden Project, Warwick Castle and Bamburgh Castle.
- Street View was first launched in UK for 25 cities in March 2009 and is hugely popular worldwide with imagery available in the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, Italy, UK, Mexico, Netherlands and more. It is also available in Google Earth and on Google Maps for Mobile.
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