Google Street View Conquers Venice



Will Coldwell, The Guardian, November 14, 2013

With its winding network of canals, cobblestone alleys and streets, the car-free city of Venice always presented a challenge to the Google Street View team. But today, thanks to "superfit" Google employees who spent two months walking around the city with a camera strapped to their back, the internet giant has finally added the watery Italian town to their Street View portfolio.

From today, it is possible to wander through St Mark's Square, cross the Rialto and promenade the waterfront of Venice's Grand Canal via your computer or smartphone.

The ambitious project took place during April and May this year, when members of the Street View operations team took two backpack-mounted "Trekker" cameras through the pedestrianised city. The Trekker, which weighs about 20kg and is four feet in height, takes a photo every 2.5 seconds, collecting 360-degree imagery as it is carried.

In order to capture views of the picturesque city from the water, the Trekker cameras were also taken along the canals by boat, for an aspect of the project dubbed "Google Gondola".

Since then, Google have been stitching and aligning the images in order to create a seamless panorama of Venice's piazzas, alleways and bridges that can now be explored online.

Google have also partnered with the city's Museo Correr, Museo del Vetro and Ca' Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art to provide online access to many works of art within their collections as part of Google's Cultural Institute project. The project provides a digital archive of artworks, landmarks and world heritage sites around the world.

Within it is the Google Art Project, which uses the same technology as Street View to allow users to explore the interiors of some of the world's most important art institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Acropolis Museum in Athens and the National Gallery in London.

Venice is one of the last cities in western Europe to be added to Street View, a project which started in 2007. In order to capture locations inaccessible by car, Google created the Trekker backpack to allow individuals to collect images in remote destinations by foot.

Some of the other locations that have been recently explored by Google's Trekker team include the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon Basin, Mount Everest and the Grand Canyon.

This article originally appeared on