ULAN BATOR: After recording images of towns and cities across the world, Google’s Street View service has launched via horse-drawn sled in a less likely location — the vast, sparsely-populated Asian country of Mongolia.
The US technology giant used a horse-drawn sled to carry its image-capturing camera to remote locations including Lake Khovsgol, Asia’s second-largest body of fresh water.
To capture rugged mountains near the Gobi desert, a local operator carried the camera in a backpack, Google said as it launched the service in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator.
At the event held jointly with government officials, the California-based firm unveiled digital representations of 5,500 kilometres of road.
“Google hopes that bringing Street View to Mongolia will raise awareness of the country as an emerging destination for visitors around the world, and support the country’s economic growth moving forward,” said company representative Susan Pointer.
Slightly larger than a basketball, Google’s camera contains 15 individual fixed-focus lenses that simultaneously capture a 360-degree image roughly every three metres.
Local officials said they welcomed the opportunity to preserve vanishing traces of Mongolia’s traditional nomadic culture and boost tourism in a country well off the beaten path.
With a population of only three million and a territory over twice the size of France, Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world.
Many Mongolians still have a nomadic lifestyle with elements inherited from 13th century conqueror Genghis Khan, whose empire was the largest in history by territorial size.
“It was a real adventure”, said one of the team who captured the images, adding, “travel was mostly off road — about 80 per cent of it.”
When asked about their months of work, the local team smiled and spoke warmly of their efforts, with one saying: “In Mongolia, there’s no other job like this”.
- Seated Buddha statue in Darhan. (Google Street View)Image1 of 7
- Khujirbulan, Mongolia. (Google Street View)Image2 of 7
- Darkhan City, Mongolia. (Google Street View)Image3 of 7
- The Peace Bridge in Mongolia’s city centre of Ulan Bator. (Google Street View)Image4 of 7
- The 108 caves in Dornogovi province where monk and poet Dulduityn Danzanravjaa used to meditate for 108 days. (Google Street View)Image5 of 7
- Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue. (Google Street View)Image6 of 7
- Eej Mod – Holy Mother Tree of Mongolia. A sacred tree in Selenge where locals come to pray to the spirits that inhibit the trees. (Google Street View)Image7 of 7