Street View to include disaster-zone images

Kyodo

Google Inc. said Friday it will take panoramic pictures of areas in five prefectures devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and aim to start uploading them on its Street View online mapping service later this year.

A Google official told a news conference in the tsunami-devastated city of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, that the purpose of the project is to record the catastrophe, while Mayor Shigeru Suganuma described the planned images as a “precious undertaking.”

Google said it will post street-level images online of the damage inflicted on Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures.

The capturing of 360-degree panoramic images, mainly in costal regions, will last for three to six months, Google said.

The mayor said, “It would be wonderful if Google also takes pictures of newly reconstructed towns a few years later as it would allow victims of the disaster and other people to compare them with the images of the present situation.”

Google’s Street View service enables users to see 360-degree panoramic street-level images of locations captured by vehicles fitted with nine cameras on their roofs.