Google Maps has a new addition to its virtual world. The new addition is Angkor Wat.
The new addition to Google Maps is due to the Google Cultural Institute. The goal of the institute is to turn cultural icons like ancient ruins, museums and historic landmarks into 3-D digital versions that people can talk tours of on their computers.
Angkor Wat, the new Google Maps addition, is an ancient temple complex that is located in located in Cambodia. It was built in the 12th century by a Cambodian king to be a Buddhist temple. When they finished the temple, it was actually dedicated to Vishnu, a Hindu god. This means that it is actually a Hindu temple, not Buddhist. Today, millions of people from around the world come to see this temple as tourists.
There were three ways that Google Maps turned Angor Wat into 3-D computer imagery. There was a camera and computer that were mounted on the top of a car. The second was to use a camera mounted on a tripod. The third was to use a backpack with a camera and computer that Google calls a trekker. Google believes that the trekkers were mostly used to turn Angkor Wat into virtual imagery.
This virtual project began July of 2014 and is being shown to the world soon. Google Maps wants to be thorough when it does 3-D virtual tours of cultural icons.
The Google’s equipment recorded about 90,000 3-D views of 100 Angkor Wat temples. Google thinks that this is the most digital images that they have ever done of a world heritage location. When they made Mt. Fuji digital, it was only about 14,000 landscape views.
Google is grateful that local organizations like the ASPARA Authority and the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia were very cooperative. Google believes that they owe a debt to some locals who wore the heavy digital cameras.
If a person can’t go to Angkor Wat in Cambodia by plane, he or she can go to this ancient temple complex by computer. A person can walk through temple without being bitten by mosquitos. He or she can also closely the bas-relief carvings at the temple. The most famous carving is called “Churning of the Ocean Milk.,” a depiction of a struggle to get a liquid that could make a person immortal. Google feels that their digital versions of these carvings are better because a person can zoom to see the little details that make up the carving. A person could spend hours, even day, on the computer as no one will tell him or her to leave due to the temple closing for the day.
Another advantage of being made virtual by Google Maps is that it made help the ancient temple complex for future generations. Preservationists have been concerned that the many visitors to this Hindu temple have been hurting the many old buildings at this complex. The increase of monsoon rains and tropical vegetation have not helped, either. Some want to go so far as limiting the amount of tourists to the site. Angkor Wat is considered by a World Heritage Site so anything can be done to preserve it.
The new addition to Google Maps, Angkor Wat, should be greatly helped by becoming digital. It can be preserved for future generations now.
By Tom Clark