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How Google Street View is Empowering You to Become a Digital Tourist

Google Maps Street View technology has dozens of different collections from around the globe. Instantly allowing us to experience the world and be digital tourists.One collection in particular that stood out to me was the use of Street View technology to capture the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai. Dubai has been referred to as the “vertical city” and the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest manmade structure, soaring over the Dubai Skyline at 2,717 feet. For reference, the One World Trade Center is set to fittingly be 1,776 feet high, while the Sears tower is 1,451 feet.


The Burj Khalifa skyscraper is the first skyscraper Google has ever captured using Street View. To capture the Burj Khalifa, Google used their Trekker and Trolley to capture a 360 degree view of the skyscraper. With Street View technology, you can visit certain floors and travel all the way to the top of the skyscraper, and receive some really fascinating views of Dubai.


The Google press release said, “In addition to the breathtaking views from the world’s tallest observation deck on the 124th floor, you can also see what it feels like to hang off one of the building’s maintenance units on the 80th floor, normally used for cleaning windows! Visit the highest occupied floor in the world on the 163rd floor, experience being in the fastest-moving elevators in the world (at 22 mph) and check out the second highest swimming pool in the world on the 76th floor.”


This is a remarkable innovation by Google and now you can experience the Burj Khalifa from anywhere in the world. But what is the underlying value? Yes, this is certainly a fun web experience, but what value does it deliver to the public sector? Here are a few ideas of potential applications:


1 – Emergency Management Applications

Literally the entire inside of this building is mapped and tracked, imagine if this process could be replicated with every building and that information could instantly be delivered to first responders on the scene. This could provide enormous help to on-site decisions and provide increased situational awareness to responders.


2 – Creation of Digital Tourists

It’s fascinating for me to think how Street View technology can change educational experiences and allow us to instantly become digital tourists. Instantly, anyone can study the design of buildings, layouts and see in-depth imagines like never before. The scale and depth of collaboration is incredible, and the applications really can be used to inspire and share knowledge.


3 – Visualize Time Series Data and Information

Google Street View has a bunch of different examples from Street View applications, from Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Lucas Oil Stadium, all showing interesting views from around the globe. Eventually this data and information can show some fascinating trends on how locations change over time, maybe it’s a development project, an economic boom, nature or environmental changes, we are cataloguing all that information. Importantly, the information is being presented in a way that is easy to understand and visually appealing, not locked into a database or spreadsheet.


Street View presents a lot of interesting applications for government and society. I really had a lot of fun exploring the Burj Khalifa, and believe the Street View technology holds great potential for the public sector. The way this technology continues to develop will be fun to watch. Be sure to explore some of the cities and locations that Street View has to offer.


What was your favorite Street View collection from Google?

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Profile Photo Alison Friedman

What an incredible use of modern technology. I can only imagine how schools will use this to help educate their students about faraway places. The world is only getting smaller!

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