Google Street View Visits Ukraine, Drives Fearlessly

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Earlier this year, Google Maps expanded its Street View gallery to Poland in order to offer ground-level panoramic imagery of Warsaw and Cracow ahead of this summer's 2012 European Football Championship. Now, Google Maps has added cities in Ukraine, which will also be hosting tournament matches. The cities included in the Street View update is Kviv, Lviv, Odessa, and Kharkiv.

Speaking of the 2012 European Football Championship, one place you might see some matches at is the Palace of Sports, a massive sports complex that's located in the center of the city.

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In Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine and the oldest city in Central and Eastern Europe, I had some fun cruising around on the Street View amid the pedestrians. The roads are so small and discreet in some parts of Kviv that they blend seamlessly into the walking area reserved (I imagine) for pedestrians. Check out the Google Street Car as it narrowly squeezes through a small group of bystanders.

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Sometimes I really wonder if Google Maps hires local drivers to navigate through some of these cities because those drivers are probably already have the hardened nerves required to thread through such tight squeezes of traffic. Otherwise, I'd have to think that these Street View car drivers are the Martin Riggs of cartography because there is no way I'd be able to drive through some of these streets without puckering up at least a little. Look at this. Where does the driver of the Google Street View car really think that car is going to squeeze into there? There's hardly any space!

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As you could see after clicking a few paces ahead, the driver gets the car through that mess but geez oh Pete, that's daring.

Moving on into milder climes, here's the National Opera and Ballet theatre in Odessa. It's always a lucky day when Google Maps gets the Street View car out on gorgeous days that really accentuate the artistic value of a city's architecture.

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It's also worth noting that Ukraine is the birthplace of 19th century Russian author Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol.

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