Last August, a few members of the Brazil and U.S. Street View and Google Earth Outreach teams were invited to the Amazon basin to collect ground level images of the rivers, forests and communities in the Rio Negro Reserve. Today, on World Forest Day, they are making those images available through the Street View feature on Google Maps. Now anyone can experience the beauty and diversity of the mammoth Amazon. Now users can take a virtual boat ride down the main section of the Rio Negro, and float up into the smaller tributaries where the forest is flooded. They can also stroll along the paths of Tumbira, the largest community in the Reserve, or visit some of the other communities who had invited the team to share their intricate lives and cultures. Besides that users can enjoy a hike along an Amazon forest trail and see where Brazil nuts are harvested. You can even see a forest critter, if you look hard enough!

Getting the Street View

Getting the Street View

This project was made possible in partnership with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), the local non-profit conservation organization that invited the Google team to the area. They used the Street View trike and a tripod camera with a fish eye lens, typically used to capture imagery of business interiors, to capture both the natural landscape and the local communities. In all, more than 50,000 still photos were stitched together to create these 360-degree panoramic views.

Many areas of the Amazon, including Rio Negro Reserve, are under the protection of the Brazilian government with restricted access to the public, so the team hopes that this Street View collection provides access to this special corner of the planet that many people, who otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to experience. Together with FAS, this team has helped everyone from researchers and scientists to armchair explorers around the world to learn more about the Amazon, and better understand how local communities there are working to preserve this unique environment for future generations.

For those of you adventurers, start exploring this portion of the Amazon and other collections around the world on the updated Street View site and gallery.

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