Google Maps Cambodia

Cambodia will be showcased to the world at the touch of a button after Google revealed plans to capture the capital and Angkor Wat on camera for its Street View scheme. Under the plans, Google cars kitted out with 360-degree panoramic cameras will hit Phnom Penh and Angkor Archaeological Park before moving onto the rest of the country.

It is believed the move will help boost tourism in the country while showcasing Cambodian culture to the rest of the world. Pak Sokhom, under-secretary of state for the Ministry of Tourism, said: “By making the photos available online, people will realise Cambodia’s potential more easily. After seeing the images, they will dream about a real visit.”

Google Street View has been mapping out photographic images of the world for the last few years. Users can click on the map option online to access a 360-degree view of the street level. Each of the cars is equipped with motion sensors to track its position, a hard drive to store data, a small computer running the system, and lasers to capture 3D data to determine distances within the Street View imagery. The images are then stitched together to create panoramic views.

However, not everywhere is accessible by car, especially sites like Angkor Wat and Phnom Kulen, which is where the human Street Trekker comes in. The Street Trekker is a wearable backpack with 15 lenses attached, taking pictures every 2.5 seconds. APSARA representative Yit Chandaroat said: “I am pleased to support the first Trekker expedition by the Google Maps team in Cambodia to Angkor Wat. Street View’s digital imagery of Angkor Wat will provide an exciting new way for anyone and everyone to learn about and experience the vast cultural heritage of this iconic religious monument.”

“We are delighted to work with the Ministry of Tourism, the APSARA Authority, and the Governor of Phnom Penh to begin capturing imagery of Cambodia through Google Maps with Street View,” Divon Lan, Google product manager, added. “Cambodia is already a popular tourist destination, and we hope Street View can help expand this already bustling industry. And by providing users and businesses alike with more useful map information, Street View can also help create lasting economic impact in Cambodia. We are excited to share the 360-degree panoramic imagery of Cambodia on Google Maps when the imagery launches at a later date.”.

The Apsara Authority, which manages Angkor Wat, has allowed Google to capture imagery free of charge until March 2014. The internet giant has developed technology to blur human faces and vehicle number plates to keep in line with privacy.