Promised back in May, Google has finally released Galapagos Islands imagery for its Street View service.
The area, famous for its rich and diverse ecosystems, played an important role in helping Darwin form his theory of evolution, and today attracts biologists, researchers and nature enthusiasts from around the world.
However, for most ordinary folk, their relatively isolated location off the west coast of Ecuador means it’s not the easiest spot to reach, and even then you need some pretty serious funds to make the trip.
So how about visiting via Street View instead?
Google’s release of the new imagery coincides with this week’s 178th anniversary of Darwin’s first exploration of the islands and is part of a joint project with the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation.
The imagery features panoramic views of locations such as Floreana Island and San Cristobal Island and includes a visit to the latter’s breeding center that’s helping to boost the population of the island’s tortoises. Also, in partnership with the Catlin Seaview Survey with its SVII underwater camera, you’ll find some remarkable material from beneath the waves, too.
On North Seymour Island, the Street View team used their backpack-based Trekker camera to “get up close and personal to Blue-footed Boobies performing their mating dance and the Magnificent Frigatebirds with their red throat sacs,” Google’s Raleigh Seamster said in a blog post introducing the latest addition to its now huge database of 360-degree imagery.
“The extensive Street View imagery of the Galapagos Islands won’t just enable armchair travelers to experience the islands from anywhere in the world – it will also play an instrumental role in the ongoing research of the environment, conservation, animal migration patterns and the impact of tourism on the islands,” Seamster wrote.
The Web giant also posted a short documentary (below) on YouTube giving an insight into how the material was collected over a period of 10 days earlier this year.