If you were to come up with a list of places you're unlikely to stumble across Google's Street View trike snapping 360 degree panoramics, the banks of the Amazon would surely be pretty close to the top. Yet that's precisely where the search behemoth's imaging team is currently focusing its attention. Starting off with a 50 km stretch of the Rio Negro River, the team plans to document life in some our world's most remote and richly biodiverse regions - visiting local communities, going inside village buildings and floating up and down the waterways to offer virtual visitors a unique insight into the wonders of the Amazon.
Often described as the lungs of the planet, the lush Amazon rainforest has been disappearing at a frighteningly rapid rate at the hands of mankind. Now thanks to Google, much of this immensely important region of the world is about to be saved - albeit digitally. Accepting an invite from the locals, Google's Brazil and U.S. Street View teams have joined members of the Google Earth Outreach program to share their image collection expertise with non-profit conservation organization Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS).
While in the area, the now-familiar Street View will be seen trundling down the narrow dirt paths that join villages and will capture images of the river, surrounding forests and adjacent river communities. Building interiors will also host an image capture tripod to give us all a sense of what it's like to live and work in such communities. The teams will also mount the vehicle on a boat and record all-around views of the great river as it floats gently downstream, which will then be stitched together to produce 360 degree panoramas.
On completion of the project, Google will leave behind some technical equipment to allow FAS members to continue their work, and give them the means to share their way of life with the rest of the world.
Personally, I am champing at the bit to get to these Amazonian Street View images but, oddly enough, my first thought was to wonder whether any locals caught in Google's Street View image snare will be treated to face blur or complete removal - but that's probably just me.