Google announced that it has added indoor imagery from buildings hit by the 2011 tsunami in Japan to Google Maps, as well as its Memories for the Future site.
Google worked with four city governments in the Tōhoku area to get the imagery, which was collected using the same technology the company uses for its indoor business photos. They were able to photograph over 30 buildings.
"A year ago we released Street View imagery of areas in Northeastern Japan that were affected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami," says Google Street View Group Product Manager Kei Kawai. "Our hope was that the 360-degree panoramas would provide a comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use way for people around the world to view the damage to the region by enabling a virtual walk through of the disaster zones. The panoramas were only the start of our digital archiving project."
"The timing of the project was critical," says Kawai "There has been a strong debate in these areas whether to keep the buildings up as a permanent reminder of the tragedy or to tear them down to allow emotional wounds to heal. After long consultations with their citizens, many local governments have decided to move forward with demolishing the buildings. Knowing this, we quickly moved to photograph the buildings before they started to be dismantled."
Kamaishi Municipal Toni Elementary School
Rikuzentakata City Public Housing
Ukedo Elementary School
Google says it will continue to photograph more buildings in two Iwate Prefecture cities, Ōfunato and Kamaishi, over the coming weeks.