[IRP] Google and UNESCO announce alliance to provide virtual visits of several World Heritage sites

Katitza Rodriguez katitza
Sat Dec 5 16:44:06 EET 2009

Very nice use of the technology:

Google and UNESCO announce alliance to provide virtual visits of  
several World Heritage sites (see news below)


Another history, when the tech touch people's lives:

1. PI files complaint about Google Street View: http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd 
2. UK Information Commissioner rules against PI in favour of  
Google ...: http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml? 

3. Swiss contend Google doesn't blur Street View enough: Switzerland's  
data protection authority said Friday it will sue Google for allegedly  
failing to obscure faces, license plates and other sensitive images  
from its Street View photo mapping Web application.  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2009/11/13/urnidgns002570F3005978D80025766D0055EF32.DTL#ixzz0YpEerTWC

Google and UNESCO announce alliance to provide virtual visits of  
several World Heritage sites


Sites of outstanding universal value inscribed on the World Heritage  
List ? the historic centre of Prague in the Czech Republic and the  
old town of C?ceres in Spain, for example ? can now be explored  
online by internet users around the world, thanks to an alliance  
signed by UNESCO and the international corporation Google.

The agreement makes it possible for internet users to visit 18* of the  
890 World Heritage properties via Google?s Street View interface. All  
the other sites on the List will be shown on the Google Earth and  
Google Maps interfaces.

The 19 sites are located in Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the  
Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. Street View provides nearly  
spherical panoramic (360? horizontal and 290? vertical) views taken  
by cameras mounted on vehicles. Once obtained, these images are  
overlaid on Google Maps? satellite views ? the process can take  
several months. When the specially-equipped cars cannot reach sites to  
be photographed, tricycles are used.

?The alliance with Google makes it possible to offer virtual visits  
of the sites to everyone, to increase awareness and to encourage  
participation in the preservation of these treasures,? said  
UNESCO?s Director-General, Irina Bokova.

?Cultural and natural heritage sites are an irreplaceable source of  
inspiration and fascination. This is an exciting project and we're  
thrilled to be working with UNESCO to make more World Heritage sites  
universally accessible and useful to all,? said Carlo d?Asaro,  
Google?s Vice-President for Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

At UNESCO?s suggestion, Google will soon be visiting and  
photographing other sites on the List. The focus is on harder-to- 
access sites, which will be photographed with the permission of site  
managers. They can then be appreciated by millions of people who might  
never have the opportunity to visit them otherwise. The sites are  
located notably in South Africa, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the  

In future, Google and UNESCO will also work together to provide online  
access, via Google Maps, YouTube and Google Earth, to maps, texts and  
videos pertaining to UNESCO?s Biosphere Reserves, to documentary  
heritage inscribed on the Memory of the World Register and to  
endangered languages.

*Spain: Santiago de Compostela (Old Town); Old Town of C?ceres;  
Historic Walled Town of Cuenca; Old City of Salamanca; Old Town of  
?vila with its Extra-Muros Churches; Old Town of Segovia and its  
Aqueduct; Historic City of Toledo France: Paris, Banks of the Seine  
Italy: Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre  
Annunziata; Historic Centre of Siena; Historic Centre of Urbino;  
Historic Centre of San Gimignano Netherlands: Mill Network at  
Kinderdijk-Elshout Czech Republic: Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc;  
Historic Centre of ?esk? Krumlov; Historic Centre of Prague United  
Kingdom: Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites; Royal Botanic  
Gardens, Kew

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization  
(UNESCO) was founded in 1945 and it has 193 Member States. One of its  
main mandates is to encourage the identification, protection and  
preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world  
considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is the goal of  
the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and  
Natural Heritage, an international treaty adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

About Google:
Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people  
around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by  
Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a  
top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted  
advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable  
results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google  
is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the  
Americas, Europe and Asia.
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