In July, this year, we had reported about Google expanding their Street View services to the tsunami and earthquake-ravaged areas of Japan. Google had announced, back then that their Street View cars will ply on the lanes of North Eastern Japan, capturing digital images of ravaged streets, among others using the nine cameras mounted on the car, giving a 360-degree, panoramic view of the location.
A ravaged street
Now, almost five months down, an official post on Google confirms that they've returned with scores of digital images depicting the extent of the damage caused, and how bravely are the locals trying to resurrect their lives. The official post further reveals that to get digital images in this number, the Street View cars covered a distance of as much as 44,000 kilometers, since it began its journey in July.
Mass destruction …
Users can also view these images on a separate website, called “Build the Memory”, wherein they can compare the images, with the before and after perspective; just to see for themselves the extent of damage caused, and how much it has changed the landscape. Giving an insight into the images, the post reveals, “A virtual tour via Street View profoundly illustrates how much these natural disasters have transformed these communities. If you start inland and venture out toward the coast, you’ll see the idyllic countryside change dramatically, becoming cluttered with mountains of rubble and debris as you get closer to the ocean. In the cities, buildings that once stood proud are now empty spaces.”
Here's how Japan looked before the tragedy and after it
In order to lend a better perspective to the images captured, the sense of giving the viewer an exact account of details; Google has included the time and date of the images, complete with the month and year. Needless to add, traversing through the lanes and curves of the captured location, all that one ever read, heard about the tragedy just manifests itself in true form.
Razed to the ground..
Google's Street View services have been among its most controversial ones, and it faced stiff resistance from several major nations, worldwide, including India. Japan, too had at one point showed great displeasure at the use of Google Street View services, but on seeing Google put its reach and expertise to use during the tragedy (remember Person Finder?), it welcomed Google with open arms. In fact, like we mentioned in our last report – “The mayor of Kesennuma, one of the cities in North Eastern Japan was particularly glad with the Google Street View cars plying around the city. In a statement, he said that he was glad that they were here to record Kesennuma, and that he would want them to come back again, and record Kesennuma after it had restored itself to its original self.”
To see these photos for yourself, click here.