I am continually surprised at the extent to which Google Maps cameras have travelled to bring us street views from so many places along the paved world. Just last year they took us on a train ride through the Alps, now they’ve gone where no car or train can go: the Amazon rainforest.
Google partnered with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), a local non-profit dedicated to preserving the Amazon. They traveled to the Amazon Basin last August and captured more than 50,000 images which were then stitched together to produce 360-degree, panoramic views of the Amazon. For those of us who will never have the chance to visit the world’s largest rainforest, Google Maps gives us the next best thing. You can take a virtual boat ride down the Rio Negro river or pass deeper along tributaries into a flooded forest. You can visit Tumbira, the Rio Negro Reserve’s largest community or take a hike down an Amazon forest trail and see Brazil nuts scattered across the forest floor, ready to be harvested. You can even have a close-up encounter with a local frog, although I don’t think the Google camera lens is part of their natural habitat.