With scorching temperatures currently baking large areas of the US, a virtual visit to the wintry climes of Antarctica may be just what’s required to take your mind off the heat.
Google announced on Tuesday that it has added panoramic imagery of historic sites in the Antarctic to its Street View service, complementing other South Pole imagery unveiled back in 2010. It also intends to add the pictures to its World Wonders site.
The new pictures feature locations that include the inside of huts used in the early part of the last century by polar explorers such as Ernest Shackleton. As with other Street View imagery, you can explore the entire panorama, as well as zoom in on any areas of interest.
Explaining about the huts in a blog post, Google’s Alex Starns wrote: “They were built to withstand the drastic weather conditions only for the few short years that the explorers inhabited them, but remarkably, after more than a century, the structures are still intact, along with well-preserved examples of the food, medicine, survival gear and equipment used during the expeditions.”
The new panoramic imagery, captured with assistance from the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota and the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust, also includes locations such as the South Pole Telescope, Scott’s hut, Cape Royds Adélie Penguin Rookery and the Ceremonial South Pole.
To collect the images, Google didn’t airlift one of its Street View cars out to the desolate area, but instead used a lightweight tripod incorporating a fisheye lens – the same equipment used to capture business interiors for its Business Photos program.
“The goal of these efforts is to provide scientists and travel (or penguin) enthusiasts all over the world with the most accurate, high-resolution data of these important historic locations,” Starns said in his post. “With this access, schoolchildren as far as Bangalore can count penguin colonies on Snow Hill Island, and geologists in Georgia can trace sedimentary layers in the Dry Valleys from the comfort of their desks.”