Google Maps Heads To The Arctic

Google Maps Trike in the ArcticGoogle’s never ending quest to map the Earth has taken them to numerous remote locations and their Street View technology has made it possible for us to explore much of the planet without ever leaving home. Not only have they shown us the wonders of Ancient Mexico, but they’ve also taken us inside national parks, up the Amazon River and to a number of other iconic locations around the globe. But their next project may be the most unique yet as the Google Maps team goes above the Arctic Circle to visit the tiny Canadian town of Cambridge Bay.

Located in Canada’s Nunavut Territory, Cambridge Bay is home to just 1500 people. The town sits on the southeast coast of Victoria Island, along the Queen Maud Gulf, and is an important port for ships traveling through the legendary Northwest Passage. Although this is a remote and lightly populated corner of planet, the region has been inhabited for more than 4000 years. The population still mainly consists of Inuit people and their culture remains evident throughout the area today. Most of the street names in Cambridge Bay, for example, are in the Inuit tongue.

In order to capture the town in all of its virtual glory, Google has sent one of their Street View trikes to map its streets. This high-tech, three-wheeled bike is equipped with cameras that take photos in all directions while rolling down the road. That data is then taken back to Google Maps HQ where it is stitched together to create a 360° panoramic view of whatever destination is being captured. That means in a short time we’ll all be able to take a stroll around Cambridge Bay within the confines of our favorite web browsers.

As travelers, how do you feel about Google Maps capturing these places and putting them in digital form online? Is it a helpful resource for you? Do you find it is intrusive or somehow detracts from a destination by taking some of the mystery out of it? Personally, I think it is kind of fun to see other parts of the world in this manner. It may even inspire someone to visit a place they hadn’t considered before.