Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Iqaluit March 14, 2013 - 7:25 am

Google Maps to put Iqaluit on street view

“The maps of Canada’s North don’t get the attention they need in the South"

SAMANTHA DAWSON
Right now if you look on Google Maps, all you see for Iqaluit is a map of the city and a few photos: this will change after Google shoots street level images of the city that will allow online visitors to view panoramic, 360-degree images of the community.
Right now if you look on Google Maps, all you see for Iqaluit is a map of the city and a few photos: this will change after Google shoots street level images of the city that will allow online visitors to view panoramic, 360-degree images of the community.

Google Maps’ popular street view service is coming to Iqaluit.

That means people in the South will be able to look at panoramic, 360-degree street-level photographs of Iqaluit when they view Google Maps online, something that Google spokesperson Aaron Brindle says is important.

“We’ll be hiking the streets of Iqaluit for several days… [so that] people can experience Iqaluit virtually,” he said.

Members of the team, who plan to start their filming work March 19, will bring up a few 40-pound “trekker” backpacks equipped with cameras.

With the trekkers strapped to their backs, team members will set out on the streets and hills to film 360-degree imagery, Brindle said.

Chris Kalluk of Cambridge Bay, who works for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., will also carry a backpack.

It was Kalluk’s idea to bring Google street view to Cambridge Bay last fall.

In Cambridge Bay, the mapping service used a “Street View Trike,” a tricycle with a camera attached to it.

But the backpacks were the only option for capturing the imagery of Iqaluit, Brindle said.

That’s because it’s too expensive to ship a car to Iqaluit, and you can’t ride the trike in the snow.

It’s also “seasonally appropriate” to capture Iqaluit during the winter, because it’s the dominant season in the city, Brindle said.

The Google street view project in Iqaluit will mark the first time the heavy backpacks have been used in Canada.

The first time was in the Grand Canyon, in the south-west United States, last fall.

“It allows us to go to remote places to collect valuable imagery,” Brindle said.

“The maps of Canada’s North don’t get the attention they need in the South,” Brindle said.

Google also wants the input of community members.

That’s why he’s invited the public to a show-and-tell event at Iqaluit’s Centennial Library. March 20 at 6 p.m.

People can check out the camera-equipped backpacks, and also participate in a “map up” of Iqaluit, which will include editing the Google map of the city, and making sure landmarks such as the banks and hockey arenas are in the right place, for example.

“These are very empowering events. It’s really cool to see your world reflected back to you on the Google maps,” Brindle said.

‘Google mapping has been contentious in the United States: the company this week agreed to pay a $7 million fine for violating privacy.

The fine comes from a Street View case in which Google photographed houses but also collected personal information — such as emails, medical and financial records and passwords, the New York Times reported.

As part of the settlement, Google agreed to start informing the public about securing wireless networks and protecting personal information.

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