Google Street View Offers Virtual Trips Around Mexico’s Ancient Monuments

We’ve talked a lot about Google Street View here on Gadling. It seems that every month a new attraction is added to this amazing and somewhat sinister application.

The latest is a series of views of the great monuments of Mexico. Google has been cooperating with the National Institute of Anthropology and History to take images of important sites such as Teotihuacan, Palenque and Chichen Itza. They hope to have 80 sites online by the end of the year.

The uber-cool archaeology news website Past Horizons reports that instead of the usual Google Street View van, a tricycle took the 360-degree panoramas. This method has been used at other sensitive sites like Stonehenge. I’ve taken a look at some of them and they’re as crisp and clear as the photos Google took of your house.

The Mexican sites are only some of hundreds of important spots around the world taken as part of the Google World Wonders Project. Hit the link to see more.

[Photo of Templo de la Calavera at Palenque courtesy Tato Grasso]

Google World Wonders Project Lets You Explore From Your Browser

Is the economy continuing to hinder your travel plans? Do you like the idea of visiting distant places but can’t handle being on an airplane for more than three hours? Never fear! The Google World Wonders Project is here to satisfy your wanderlust without ever leaving home.

Using its famous Street View technology, Google has managed to deliver some of the most impressive world heritage sites to Internet users directly through their browser. Street View, which has been used to explore cities across the globe for a number of years, employs a special camera system that captures images in a 360-degree, panoramic format. When those images are stitched together and displayed online they create a virtual space that offers viewers a chance to wander around some very iconic places. But unlike Street View, the World Wonders Project is even able to go inside some famous buildings.

The full list of places that are part of the project can be found on the World Wonders webpage where they are organized by both region and theme. Some of those places include the archaeological areas of Pompeii, the Palace of Versailles and the Hiroshima Peace Museum in Japan, just to name a few. You can even visit the Antarctic hut of explorer Robert Falcon Scott, who lost his life on a return journey from the South Pole in 1912.

In addition to the Street View virtual environment, each of the locations also includes a brief explanation of its historical or cultural significance, as well as additional photographs and videos of the site. That information is organized nicely and serves as a great introduction to the different places as well.

If you can’t travel at the moment, the Google World Wonders Project just might be your best alternative.