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Google has made live its 360-degree Streetview project of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. While Streetview is traditionally used to power maps that are rich and three dimensional, of late Google has been using this technology of its to bring a lot of monuments across the world to life.In Angkor Wat, arguably the largest temple complex in the world, Streetview has been used to patch together over 90,000 high resolution 360-degree images of the monument. Over a hundred temples in the complex are covered in full detail. The project was started in July 2013.
Streetview is not necessarily about streets. We want it to lead to live, breathing maps that help people explore places, said Manik Gupta, group product manager for Google Maps.
Google has already created visual walkthroughs of over 100 monuments in India, including the Taj Mahal in Agra. Taj Mahal and Angkor will also be part of the Google Cultural Institute display which gives a comprehensive view of places of interest as well as the top museums in the world. The Angkor collection for instance will also include over 300 pieces of art retrieved from the ruins spread over 400 sq kilometers and often overlooked by the thousands of tourists visiting the Siem Reap where the monuments are located.
Amit Sood, director of the Google Cultural Institute, said the idea behind this project was to make museums more accessible. The Internet has become a tool for cultural institutions to put their content online for the world to see, he said, adding that Googles technology was ensuring that the online experience adds value to the exhibits.
The Angkor Wat project has been undertaken with the help of the Apsara Authority of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
(The author is in Cambodia on the invite of Google.)