Not Satisfied With Us, Google Starts Spying On the Mayans
watch as a rider drives a camera-equipped tricycle around a temple at
the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexico's Yucatan state.
Imagery from the tricycle trip has been incorporated into Google Street
is expanding its Street View offerings to include dozens of 360-degree
photo tours of ancient Mexican monuments such as Teotihuacan, Chichen
Itza and Palenque.
The additions are aimed at helping Mexico "open
a window to the world, to encourage physical visits to the pre-Hispanic
sites and thus in turn benefit cultural tourism," Miguel Angel Alva,
director of marketing for Google Mexico, said this week in an
announcement from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and
History, or INAH.
Google collected the all-around
views by having riders pedal camera-equipped tricycles around the
Mexican sites, with INAH's cooperation. INAH said the photo project
started two years ago. Thirty sites have been added to Google Street
View so far, with the aim of having more than 80 sites online by the end
of the year. Eventually, all 189 of the archaeological sites under
INAH's custody will be cataloged, the institute said.
The virtual tours highlight some of Mexico's best-known monuments:
- Chichen Itza's El Castillo,
also known as the Temple of Kukulkan, a Maya pyramid built more than a
millennium ago. Some researchers say the temple's staircase was designed
to create a "feathered serpent" shadow during the spring and autumn
equinoxes, and can also produce quetzal-bird echoes when you clap your hands at just the right spot.
- Teotihuacan, the monumental city that was founded by a mysterious pre-Aztec culture and reached its height somewhere between 100 B.C. and the year 750.
a Maya walled city on the Yucatan Peninsula's Caribbean coast that
dates back to the 13th century and was still occupied when the Spanish
arrived in the early 16th century. Today the well-preserved ruins are
the middle of a modern-day resort area.
an important Maya site in the Mexican state of Chiapas that reached its
peak in the 7th century. Last year, the remote-controlled exploration
of a 1,500-year-old tomb at the Palenque site made headlines.
a city that flourished during the Classic Maya period and is now a
popular tourist attraction. Among its best-known ruins are the Pyramid
of the Magician and the Governor's Palace.
Update for 4:45 p.m. ET Aug. 18: Keir Clarke has put together this longer list of links to Google Street View panoramas of Mexican archaeological sites over at Google Maps Mania. If you've found more, please pass them along in your comments on Keir's blog (and right here as well, OK?).
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