Sharjah has joined the bandwagon of Google's ‘Street View' facility that allows users to virtually explore and navigate streets, and neighbourhoods through panoramic street-level images. It has joined the club of more than 3,000 cities in 63 countries around the world who are enjoying the benefits of the facility.
This was announced on Saturday as Google and the Sharjah Urban Planning Council entered into a partnership to launch Street View in Sharjah. Google ‘Street View Car' will capture streets, roads, neighbourhoods, destinations and landmarks in Sharjah.
The emirate is the second Arab city to have the Street View vehicle being driven in the region. Street View imagery is gathered by a vehicle equipped with advanced imaging technology — a camera mounted on the roof of a car that collects imagery and location data. After collection, the imagery is stitched together to create the 360° panoramic images that allow you to explore locations as if you were there.
Launched in 2007, Google Street View imagery provides users with a rich, immersive browsing experience and also allow them to explore world landmarks, view natural wonders and navigate.
Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Urban Planning Council, commented: "This technology has been successfully implemented in leading cities all over the world, and we welcome the additional convenience it will bring to residents and businesses in Sharjah. It will make it easier for them to navigate the streets of the emirate.”
Moreover, people outside Sharjah and prospective visitors can experience panoramic views of the emirate's spectacular natural landscape and the many landmarks that make it the centre of culture in the region, Al Qasimi added.
Antony Mcloughlin, Street View programme manager at Google, said: "We are very excited to extend Street View to Sharjah, wherever we have launched this feature around the world, we received amazing response from users and businesses.”
Benefits for users
Google wants to make the everyday lives of users easy whether it is previewing the location before moving into a new neighbourhood or discovering the location of a restaurant or cafe. Users can check out a restaurant or hotel before arriving or arranging meeting points. House hunters can save time not only by exploring properties they are interested in but also their surrounding area in advance which will make selection of property more efficient.
Businesses can also benefit from the Street View technology by linking Google Maps directly to their site. This will help them promote a hotel or increase awareness of a local store or restaurant. Tourists will instantly be able to check the surroundings of a hotel without having to come and see it.