Another benefit of South Africa hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup was the launch in June, of Google Street View for maps.google.co.za. Using 360 degree street-level images taken by the Google cars and trikes, Street View allows users to view and navigate through South African streets, gardens and past historic buildings. Says Julie Taylor, Communications Manager for Google South Africa:
The local launches of Google Maps and Street View reflect Google’s investment in South Africa, as well as our commitment to making the Internet more useful and relevant to South Africans. Street View also shows South Africa’s heritage to the world, ranging from the iconic winelands to the Kruger National Park.
A world first is that Cape winelands images are featured on Street View. Right now it is possible to visit via Street View: Bouchard Finlayson, De Rust Estate, De Wetshof, Fairview, Jordan Wines, Klein Constantia, Meerlust, Morgenster, Rustenberg, Vilafonte Vineyards and Warwick Wine Estate.
South African wine connoisseur, Juliet Cullinan, commenting on Street View and the growing importance of digital technology within South Africa’s wine industry, says:
Wine-lovers all over the world can now visit the estates of some of our leading wine domains using Street View, plan their own wine routes and buy online. As the world’s first vineyards to be placed on Street View, South African wineries will receive great exposure and can take advantage of this new technology in innovative ways, whilst expanding tourism and their global and local customer base.
The scope for improving the online presence of wineries is huge as Richard Cheary of Afrozaar explained:
There are so many ways wine farms can utilise geo products, including the creation of virtual wine route tours, incorporating video and interviews; mobile applications, comprising travel directions and preloaded tourist information; and online bookings with specific requests.
Soon to be added to Street View are Ataraxia Wines, Boekenhoutskloof Winery, Constantia Glen, Glen Carlou, Groote Post, Hamilton Russell, Iona Wines, Journey’s End, Kaapzicht, Le Riche, Mont Du Toit, Mooiplaas, Ormonde Vineyard, Raka, Rickety Bridge, Robertson Winery, Saronsberg, Strandveld, Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Vergelegen, Villiera and Weltevrede.
Using Google Street View
In areas where Street View is available, you can see the images on Google Maps (on a PC or Internet-enabled mobile) by zooming into the lowest level, or by dragging the orange “Pegman” icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street.
Google has gone to lengths to safeguard privacy while allowing all South African users to benefit from this feature. Street View only contains imagery that is already visible from public roads and features technology that blurs both faces and licence plates. In addition, any user can easily flag images for removal that he or she considers inappropriate by clicking on “Report a problem”. South Africa is the first country in Africa to get Street View imagery in Maps. Street View first launched in 2007 and is currently available in 23 countries and 100 metropolitan areas worldwide, including large areas of the US, Australia, Japan, France, Italy and Spain.
To learn more about Street View, visit www.google.co.za/streetview