Google had designed a ‘trekker’ to capture the imagery in remote sites or places that are accessible only by foot. It has travelled to 44 countries so far capturing places such as the Grand Canyon and Mount Fuji.

With a click of the mouse, you can now view Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, Khajuraho and the Ajanta Ellora caves in 360-degree imagery.

Ushering in an era of ‘digital’ tourism, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Google India on Thursday partnered a project to create a bank of 100 such iconic heritage sites in the country.

The detailed images will be captured by Google’s Street View Trekker, a wearable backpack with a camera system (with 15 cameras) placed on top.

Once published, these images will be placed for public viewing over the Internet. “Through this partnership with Google, we hope to engage more people, both around the world and here in India, in discovering and learning about our country’s rich cultural history,” said Chandresh Kumari Katoch, Union Minister of Culture, while launching the project.

Google India, on its part, said that by helping ASI create the 360-degree panoramic imagery (3D) of these iconic sites, it hopes to help make many more India’s heritage sites accessible to people around the world, as also help preserve the country’s unique history.

Google said it had designed a ‘trekker’ to capture the imagery in remote sites or places that are accessible only by foot. It has travelled to 44 countries so far capturing places such as the Grand Canyon, Mount Fuji, the Galapagos Islands and the historic pedestrian paths in Venice as part of its efforts to make the world’s diverse heritage and beauty accessible to everyone.

Once published, the imagery of these Indian heritage sites will be available on Google Maps and on the World Wonders site within the Google Cultural Institute so that people across the world can virtually view and explore these areas, the company said.

“This is akin to Google’s Art project ….Many heritage sites of India are accessible to very few people. But, now with the help of technology and Government’s help, these sites will be available for the world to experience online,” Rajan Anandan, Vice-President and Managing Director, Google India, told reporters here.

He said the ASI would approve each heritage site over time as per their call and accordingly Google will bring them online. Google India will start collecting images of the approved sites by ASI from next week and publish them.

ronendrasingh.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 3, 2013)
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