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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 16:08

You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
Author: "Alex Turnbull"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 10:30

The latest frontier for Google’s Street View technology is underwater. Cameras have visited quite a number of popular diving and snorkelling locations, giving us spectacular imagery of sea life and coral reefs. Today we’re taking a tour of these locations, beginning with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, where we find a number of sea turtles.

Three separate locations along the reef were captured. The turtles were found just off Heron Island, while near Wilson Island a school of iridescent blue fish can be seen exploring the staghorn coral.1

Underwater

Further south near Lady Elliot Island a diver meets a manta ray.

Underwater

Moving north-west to the Philippines, a large area around Apo Island can be explored, revealing some spectacular coral formations and various fish.

Underwater

Heading across the Pacific we can stop in Hawaii for a couple of locations, including Hanauma Bay where we can find a trio of snorkelers

Underwater

… and Molokini – a partially submerged volcanic crater – where we see a number of divers around their boat.

Underwater

But enough of the humans, we’re here for the wildlife! Continuing across the Pacific brings us to the Galapagos Islands where the cameras captured a group of sea lions playing in the water.

Underwater

At nearby Devil’s Crown we find a large school of black-striped salema and a few razor surgeonfish.

Underwater

To the north at Gordon’s Rocks, the steep drop-offs are home to many types of fish.

Underwater

Wildlife doesn’t come much more spectacular than a whale shark, shown here off Mexico’s Isla Contoy. This largest of all fish can grow up to 12.5 m (41.5′) and weigh more than 21 tons.

Underwater

Here’s one feeding

Underwater

… and here’s a really close-up look at its gills, with remora attached to its belly.

Underwater

Turn directly around and you’ll see a huge ray.

Underwater

Further south near Isla Mujeres assorted items have been sunk to create an underwater museum for divers. These include a large number of concrete figures

Underwater

Underwater

… and even a sculpture of a VW Beetle! This YouTube video gives a good tour of the museum.

Underwater

This writer has done some snorkelling off Cozumel, where a couple of locations have been captured for Street View. At the Santa Rosa Wall, there is even a lovely close-up of a parrotfish – one of my favourites.

Underwater

And at Columbia Deep the variety of coral is fascinating.

Underwater

Imagery was also taken at the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve, a marine location so important it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Underwater

Moving north into the Atlantic, several locations around Bermuda can be viewed, including Hourglass Reef where we find a few sergeant majors

Underwater

… and the wreck of the Mary Celeste. Not the famous ghost ship which was found off Portugal with its crew mysteriously missing, but still a notable vessel and one of Bermuda’s most famous wrecks – a paddle steamer used to carry weapons during the American Civil War. See this government web page for more details.

Underwater

For our final wet location on this tour, we head to the Mediterranean and Monaco, where divers can explore the waters near the famous Oceanographic museum.

Underwater

We’ll end by visiting an underwater vessel – the Ocelot submarine, though we’re cheating slightly because it’s permanently moored in dry-dock at Chatham Dockyard. Much of the interior of the submarine can be explored on Street View, from the spartan and cozy sleeping quarters to the periscope, the galley, and the engine room.

uw18-atrbUnderwaterUnderwater

Please explore all the underwater locations featured above and be sure to post a comment with anything interesting that you come across!

This is the third in an occasional series about out-of-the-ordinary imagery from Google Maps. In the first we visited wintery locations around the world in Google Snow View, and in the second we looked at rivers, canals and oceans with Google Boat View.


  1. We’ve tried to name creatures and coral to the best of our abilities, but we’re not experts so please do post any corrections in the comments! 

Locations: Australia, Bermuda, Ecuador, England, Hawaii, Mexico, Monaco, Philippines / Categories: Animals, Islands, Watercraft, World Heritage Sites

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Author: "Ian Brown" Tags: "Australia, Bermuda, Ecuador, England, Ha..."
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Date: Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 10:30

From the late 19th century to the period between the World Wars, hundreds of airship hangars were built in Western Europe and the USA to house the massive lighter-than-air craft. Today, only a handful of these huge structures remain, including the earliest such building – Hangar Y at Chalais Meudon outside Paris.

Hangar Y was built in 1879 on what was then a military base. It is 70m long, 24m wide and 20m high (230′ x 78′ x 65′), although additional structures have since been added on both sides. It was originally a pavilion at the Paris exhibition, but was moved to house the airship La France. It later served for several decades as a museum and was used by painter Marc Chagall when he was working on large ceiling panels for an opera house.

We can get a couple of glimpses of the building on Street View. It has been designated a historic site and restoration work has been taking place for a number of years – particularly on the end we can’t see, where the steel frame distorted and broke many of the windows.

Airship Hangar Airship Hangar

Early in the 20th century, the UK and US armies experimented with ‘portable’ airship hangars – temporary tent-like structures which could be moved wherever they were needed. The frame of one such hangar has been reconstructed in Farnborough, Hampshire, where the Balloon Factory was once based.

Airship Hangar

Elsewhere in England, two intact hangars can be seen at RAF Cardington in Bedfordshire. Constructed by the Royal Airship Works during World War I, Number 1 Shed (on the left in the image below) measures 247m long, 84m wide and 55m high (812′ x 275′ x 180′). Number 2 Shed is slightly smaller, even though it was enlarged after being moved here following initial construction.

Airship Hangar

Shed 1 has recently been in the news as the location of what is being called the world’s longest aircraft – an airship which is aerodynamically designed to create lift just like an aeroplane wing.

Also in England, the roof of an airship hangar was re-purposed as a large grain drying shed on a farm at St Mary Hoo in Kent. It also dates to WWI and is believed to have been built on the nearby Royal Naval Air Service base, before being moved to its current location in the 1920s.

Airship Hangar

All of the hangars in England are protected – you can read more about their history at the British Listed Buildings website: Farnborough, Shed 1, Shed 2 and Moat Farm.

The largest numbers of airship hangars were built in Germany for the Zeppelin and Hindenburg classes of rigid airships, however they were systematically demolished after WWII. The country is, however, home to the only hangar built after that conflict, in Krausnick near Berlin. Constructed in the 1990s for an airship that was never completed, it was later converted to an indoor beach theme park called Tropical Islands.

Airship Hangar

A photosphere by Elena Fedorova allows us to see inside the resort, including the southern wall where the steel siding panels were replaced by translucent film to allow natural light to enter, and you can learn more at the official website.

Airship Hangar

The only Zeppelin/Hindenburg hangar still standing in its original form is actually near Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The hangar at Bartolomeu de Gusmão Airport (now the Santa Cruz Air Force Base) was built in the 1930s and saw regular transatlantic airship service from Germany, allowing passengers to transfer to planes bound for other South American destinations.

Airship Hangar Airship Hangar

Zeppelin hangars have been reused for other structures, including for the Central Market in Latvia’s capital Riga. Five hangers were rebuilt on a centuries-old market site with additional architectural elements to make them permanent structures, which are now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site encompassing this part of the old city.

Airship Hangar

Quite a number of airship hangars were built in various locations across the USA before and during WWII. Hangar B in Tillamook, Oregon is the largest clear-span wooden structure in the world at 327m long, 90m wide and 59m tall (1072′ x 296′ x 192′). A second hangar on the site was lost to fire in 1992.

Airship Hangar

While a company still operates blimps out of the building, part of it is also home to an Air Museum, which is actually visible on Street View, allowing us an excellent look at the hugely impressive interior of the wooden structure. Part of the plane collection is covered by a tent – probably to protect them from the elements. The roof is apparently not in great shape and the museum plans to move elsewhere in the coming years, meaning the building faces an uncertain future as the repair bill would be significant.

Airship Hangar

Two WWII-era hangars are located at Marine Corps Air Station Tustin in California. Nearby residents are hoping that the structures can be preserved as the base is decommissioned and converted to a regional park.

Airship Hangar

A few hours to the north-west in Silicon Valley, Moffett Field has three airship hangars built in the 1930s. The TV show Mythbusters has filmed there several times when they needed large spaces to work in.

The exterior covering of Hangar One has been removed because it contained hazardous materials. The 45º imagery shows this process partly completed

Airship Hangar

… while this Photosphere from Joey Rozier shows the entire steel skeleton exposed, and really shows the vast size of the building.

Airship Hangar

Two smaller hangars (Two and Three) of wooden construction are found on the other side of the airfield.

Airship Hangar

A Photosphere created by Steven dosRemedios actually allows to see an airship!

Airship Hangar

Several hangars can be found at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in New Jersey, site of the Hindenburg disaster in 1937.

Airship Hangar Airship Hangar

The Goodyear Airdock is located in Akron, Ohio.

Airship Hangar

And finally, in North Carolina, the Weeksville Drigible Hangar. Unfortunately there is no Street View on the nearby road Blimp View Drive.

Airship Hangar

If you know of any other airship hangars that we didn’t include, please post links in the comments!

Locations: Brazil, California, England, France, Germany, Latvia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon / Categories: 45˚ Imagery, Abandoned, Aircraft, Buildings, Street Views, Structures, World Heritage Sites

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Author: "Ian Brown" Tags: "Brazil, California, England, France, Ger..."
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Date: Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 20:48

You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
Author: "Alex Turnbull"
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Date: Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 09:00

Floating bridges, while often temporary structures used in times of war or disaster, can also be used long-term in locations where water conditions are very sheltered. The road surface is supported by pontoons, which – while they do float – are usually anchored to the sea, lake or river-bed to ensure they stay in place. The longest floating bridge in the world is the Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge—Evergreen Point which stretches 2.3 km (1.4 miles) as part of a longer bridge across Lake Washington between Seattle and Medina.

Elevated bridge sections near each shore allow boats and ships to pass, though there is also a draw span in the middle of the floating section. The deck is raised and retracted from the opening to allow larger vessels to pass.

Floating Bridge Floating Bridge

Since opening 50 years ago1 the bridge has been modified and updated in various ways in an attempt to keep it safe. Traffic is blocked from using it in high winds, and a major earthquake would probably cause it to collapse. In 1997 engineers said the bridge could only be expected to last 20 more years, meaning it should be almost at the end of its useful lifespan.

A new seismically-safe six-lane bridge is being constructed next to the existing structure, and we can see the first pontoon under construction near the eastern end of the bridge – though pontoon construction problems are leading locals to question how safe it will actually be.2

Floating Bridge

Just as short distance to the south are two more floating bridges across Lake Washington – the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge (2 km / 1.2 miles, the second longest floating bridge) and the Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge (1.77 km / 1.1 miles, fifth longest, but also the widest).

Floating Bridge

The Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge was originally built in 1940 but sank while being refurbished during a heavy storm in 1990, as shown in this YouTube video.  The replacement bridge opened three years later.

Floating Bridge

Although the companion Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge had just opened in 1989, commuter traffic was completely crippled for a short time after the sinking because cables anchoring the new bridge were damaged. High-occupancy vehicle lanes on this bridge are about to be converted to light-rail lines – it is believed that this will be the first transit rail system to cross a floating bridge.

Floating Bridge

A short drive to the north-west brings us to the third-longest floating bridge, over the Hood Canal, which is only slightly shorter than the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge. Again, what we see is the second version of this bridge which opened in 1982. The original bridge broke apart and sank in a terrible windstorm in 1979.

Floating Bridge

Moving south to Portland, Oregon, we find the world’s longest floating pedestrian bridge, the Eastbank Esplanade, which runs along the Willamette River. We have to wonder if it’s as tranquil as it looks, being surrounded by a network of elevated roads.

Floating Bridge

We’ve never had a post on Google Sightseeing before that featured a sight in Guyana, but there are two floating bridges in the country which we can include here! Both are about 1.8 km (1.12 miles) long.

The Harbour Bridge crosses the Demerara river a few kilometres south of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana. Completed in 1978, it too suffered a partial collapse and sinking in 2012.

Floating Bridge

Guyana’s Berbice Bridge however only opened in December 2008.

Floating Bridge

Another new country for us is Curaçao in the Caribbean, where this Photosphere by Joscelin Trouwborst allows us to see the Queen Emma pedestrian bridge in Willemstad. This is a swing bridge – meaning it can be swung to the side to allow boats to pass.

Floating Bridge

There are two floating bridges in Norway – the Nordhordland Bridge and the Bergsøysund Bridge – both built in the 1990s.

Floating Bridge Floating Bridge

Back to North America and the Sunset Lake Floating Bridge in Vermont which we took a very brief look at a few years ago. The Street View car was not able to cross the bridge – its poor condition means it is closed to traffic.

Floating Bridge

Finally to Dongjin in China where there is an historic bridge still in the form in which the earliest floating bridges were made – platforms supported by boats which are roped together. The 400m (¼mile) bridge is laid across 100 boats in the Zhang river.

Floating Bridge

You can read more about floating bridges on Wikipedia, and if you know of any others visible on Google Maps or Street View, please post links in the comments!


  1. See this birthday celebration video from the Department of Transportation. 

  2. Completely unrelated… How often do you come across a Street View image of someone waterskiing?! Though bizarrely it’s just this one frame, click forwards or backwards and the boat and skier disappear! 

Locations: China, Curaçao, Guyana, Norway, Oregon, Vermont, Washington / Categories: Bridges, Street Views, Structures

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You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
Author: "Ian Brown" Tags: "China, Curaçao, Guyana, Norway, Oregon,..."
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Date: Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 14:29

Here at Google Sightseeing we love a chance to create a post about the scenic wonders of Norway1. Today we will explore the coastal regions visited by the historic Hurtigruten (The Express Route), a daily passenger and cargo service between Bergen and Kirkenes, operated by eleven distinctive white, red and black ships, including the MS Nordnorge, shown here in Bergen. Join us on the epic journey to the 34 ports served by Hurtigruten, looking at some of the scenic highlights, and seeing how many of the ships we can spot along the way, when Google’s Street View car happened to be in a location at the same time while collecting extensive coverage of the country.

The eleven-day round trip covers around 4,800km (3,000 miles) and is hailed as one of the most spectacular sea cruises in the world, though it is a relatively recent tourist destination. For most of Hurtigruten’s 120-year history, a number of small boats served only locals – providing access and freight services to previously isolated ports. Although air travel has made most of the country easily accessible, and despite tourists dominating the passenger lists on larger ships, many who live in the small coastal communities continue to rely on Hurtigruten’s daily service.

On the south-west coast, Bergen – where the trip starts and ends – is the largest city served by Hurtigruten. Before boarding the ship, tourists can visit Bryggen, a quayside area of wooden buildings, some of which were built in the early 18th century and which are preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hurtigruten

The first Hurtigruten vessel, DS Vesterålen, carried only a few dozen passengers2, whereas the MS Nordnorge (shown at the top of this post) carries over 600 passengers and close to 50 cars. It is one example of the larger ships introduced in the past couple of decades to meet tourist demand, while continuing to provide services to residents in the many small communities on the route. Only two older ships remain in the fleet – 1964′s MS Lofoten and 1983′s MS Vesterålen. A number of cruise lines use massive vessels carrying thousands of passengers to visit the same areas, but their size means they are unable to dock in many places.

From Bergen, ships sail north along the coast, with gentle hills giving way to gradually more spectacular mountains and fjords. The journey continues across the Arctic Circle to the low-lying islands of the north coast and almost all the way to the Russian border. The first stop is in Florø, a fishing town of around 8,000 people. There’s no sign of a Hurtigruten ship on Street View, but a couple of anchors near the port celebrate town’s maritime heritage.

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

The next three stops are Måløy (with its streets stacked on the side of a hill), the tiny village of Torvik, and Ålesund (which is spread across seven islands).

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

During the summer months, Hurtigruten competes for space with around 150 cruise ships carrying several hundred thousand passengers visiting the tiny but incredibly beautiful village of Geiranger, which is home to a large troll!

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

The port is reached via a stunning fjord which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – seen here from a precipitous mountain road beside some traditional turf-roofed houses.

Hurtigruten

By contrast, Hjørundfjord – sailed solely for the vistas – is secluded and peaceful; Hurtigruten claims that most cruise ships don’t come here.

Hurtigruten

Then it’s on to Molde, Kristiansund and Trondheim, where a Viking statue stares out to sea…

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

Rørvik and Brønnøysund

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

… and Sandnessjøen, where we can see the MS Richard With, a 600 passenger vessel named for the founder of Hurtigruten which was launched in 1993 – 100 years after the captain’s first voyage.

Hurtigruten

After stopping at Nesna, where we get a glimpse of the MS Polarlys, the route crosses the Arctic Circle before continuing to Ørnes

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

… and then Bodø, where we get a good look at the MS Kong Harald, another 600 passenger ship, built in the 1990s.

Hurtigruten

Next comes Stamsund, and then Svolvær

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

…then Stokmarknes – home to a Hurtigruten museum which includes a 1950s vessel named MS Finnmarken, one of several ships to bear the name.

Hurtigruten

The route continues to Sortland, Risøyhamn and Harstad

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

Finnsnes, Tromsø – home to the Arctic Cathedral, and Skjervøy

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

Øksfjord – where we find a herd of elk on the edge of town, Hammerfest – where we get our last look at a Hurtigruten ship – the MS Polarlys again, and Havøysund.

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

Onward to the last few ports, which include Honningsvåg (the northernmost city on the mainland of Norway), Kjøllefjord and Mehamn

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

Berlevåg – with its lovely round-steepled Church, Båtsfjord, and Vardø – with its controversial Globus II radar station on a hilltop above the town.

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

Then it’s a short hop to Vadsø – which has a very distinctive Church, and finally to Kirkenes, about 10km (6 miles) from the Russian border and the last stop before ships start the return journey to Bergen.

Hurtigruten Hurtigruten

If you’re inspired to visit Norway after reading this, the Hurtigruten website has all the information you need.


  1. See, for example, our posts about Svalbard, Stave Churches and Trollstigen

  2. And only on part of the route. The full Bergen – Kirkenes route wasn’t introduced until 1936. 

Locations: Norway / Categories: Buildings, Natural Landmarks, Street Views, Watercraft, World Heritage Sites

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You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
Author: "Ian Brown" Tags: "Norway, Buildings, Natural Landmarks, St..."
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Date: Friday, 14 Mar 2014 16:07

You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
Author: "Alex Turnbull"
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Date: Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 09:00

The ancestor of the modern stadium, amphitheatres have been playing host to large-scale cultural and sporting events for thousands of years. Approximately 230 Roman-era amphitheatres have been identified across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The tradition continues today as hundreds of amphitheatre venues have been constructed to host concerts and plays, often in natural settings.

Two of the oldest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres sit in Italy’s Campania region. The Anfiteatro Campano in Santa Maria Capua Vetere dates to the beginning of the 1st millennium AD and also ranks as one of the largest Roman amphitheatres, measuring 170 x 140 metres (190 x 150 yards, making it nearly as large as the vaunted Roman Colosseum).

AMPsmc

Just down the road from Santa Maria Capua Vetere stands the legendary Amphitheatre of Pompeii, the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre and the oldest known to be built of stone rather than of wood. Built in 80 BC, the amphitheatre would be buried (and inadvertently preserved) by the eruption of Vesuvius 159 years later. Classic Rock fans may know it best, however, as the site where Pink Floyd filmed the bulk of their 1972 concert film Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii.

AMPpom

The 2nd century Palais Gallien in Bordeaux, France was not as lucky. At one point capable of holding 22,000 spectators, the stadium (which was fitted with wooden bleachers) was burned during the Frankish raids of 275-276 AD. Amazingly, the ruins survived centuries of neglect, and the northern gate of the amphitheatre still stands today in the heart of the city.

AMPbor

A common feature of Roman amphitheatres was the hypogeum, a network of tunnels and cages beneath the amphitheatre’s surface where gladiators and animals were kept before battles. At the ancient site of Italica in western Spain, the hypogeum is visible in the centre of the ruined stadium.

AMPgla

An even better example of a hypogeum can be seen in the Catalan city of Tarragona. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the bowels of the amphitheatre here were variously used as a mausoleum and a prison into the 19th century.

AMPtar

The Arènes d’Arles in Provence, France was transformed into a fortified city in the centuries following Roman rule. At one point, over 200 houses existed within the walls of the amphitheatre before 19th century restoration efforts returned the stadium to its original function. Appropriately for a bloody gladiatorial setting, the arena continues to host annual bullfights that draw 50,000 spectators into the venue.

AMParl

Mérida, Spain is unique in being home to two Roman amphitheatres at the same complex1. The Roman theatre sat buried for well over a millennium before being excavated in the 19th century2. Much of its magnificent marble stage and the accompanying columns and statues remain intact. The main amphitheatre next door, however, is in much rougher shape.

AMPmer2 AMPmer1 AMPmer3

Many Roman amphitheatres have been restored and are enjoying new lives as public gathering places. The half-buried amphitheatre at Lecce in southern Italy, shown here decorated for Christmas, plays host to many cultural events throughout the year.

AMPlec

Today, amphitheatres remain popular venues for concertgoers around the world thanks to their optimal acoustics. Perhaps the two largest amphitheatre venues are the naturally occurring amphitheatre at Slane Castle in Ireland’s County Meath (capacity 80,000 and home to the annual Slane Concert festival), and Milton Keynes’ National Bowl (formerly a clay pit; now a 65,000-person concert ground).

AMPsla AMPnat

Not all amphitheatres have to be large to be impressive. Take the Auditorio Julio Iglesias in the Valencian resort city of Benidorm, or The Scoop underneath London’s City Hall, both surrounded by skyscrapers in the heart of the city.

AMPben AMPsco

The Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles are home to two world-renowned amphitheatres within a ten-minute drive of one another. The Greek Theatre has been hosting concerts since 1931, which, judging by the lineup on the marquee, is apparently the same year the Street View camera captured this imagery.

AMPgre1AMPgre2

Its counterpart to the west is the Hollywood Bowl3, which opened nine years earlier in 1922. Look closely in the hills above the distinctively-shaped bandshell and you’ll even manage to catch a glimpse of the iconic Hollywood sign.

AMPhol1 AMPhol2

Finally, we return to another original Google Sightseeing haunt, Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre, for some stunning up-close views of the legendary concert venue and its eponymous geologic formations.

AMPred1 AMPred3 AMPred2


  1. We first visited the Mérida amphitheatre back in November 2011 in our look at abandoned European stadiums, which otherwise focussed on more recent abandonments. 

  2. Only the uppermost seats of the theatre remained exposed above ground, which is why the top of the theatre appears so weathered in comparison to the inner bowl. 

  3. The Hollywood Bowl was one of the first sights ever visited by Google Sightseeing all the way back in June 2005

Locations: California, Colorado, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain / Categories: 45˚ Imagery, Abandoned, Buildings, Natural Landmarks, Stadiums and Sport, Street Views, Structures, World Heritage Sites

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You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
Author: "Kyle Kusch" Tags: "California, Colorado, England, France, I..."
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Date: Monday, 03 Mar 2014 22:26

You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
Author: "Alex Turnbull"
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Date: Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 14:28

A few years ago it was a common joke to suggest that Google would follow the success of Street View by attaching cameras to boats to capture imagery of rivers, canals and oceans. Well, of course that is now a reality so we will take a brief look at a number of watery locations around the world, including the most famous of all – Venice.

Boat View Boat View

To capture the imagery, the Street View camera was mounted on a motorised barge (seen here near the Bridge of Sighs) which was probably rather more stable than a gondola1. Even though it was lowered when needed, the camera still barely made it under the lowest bridges.

As well as touring the Grand Canal, many smaller canals and getting as close as possible to St Mark’s Square

Boat View

… the boat toured around the islands of Venice Lagoon, including San Giorgio Maggiore where it captured Marc Quinn’s 11m-tall inflatable statue Alison Lapper Pregnant, one of his works presented at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Boat View

To London now, where a small boat carried the camera along a good stretch of the River Thames, allowing us to see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge

Boat View

… the SIS/MI6 headquarters, seen in a couple of recent James Bond films …

Boat View

… and the Thames Flood Barrier.

Boat View

In Tokyo, the camera captured a portion of the Sumida River from a tour boat, from where we can see the Asahi Beer Hall and offices. The offices are in the beer-jug shaped structure to the left, while the smaller Beer Hall building is topped by the Flamme d’Or, created by Philippe Starck and intended to represent both “the burning heart of Asahi Beer” and a frothy head on a mug of beer. Locals tend to refer to it in considerably less pleasant terms.

Boat View

The boat made a stop at the Hamarikyu Gardens so the trekker could capture imagery there – just one of several gardens in the city that you can explore on Street View.

Boat View

Back to Europe, where the canals of Copenhagen were captured from a large tour boat, complete with passengers and balloons in Google colours!

Boat View

It visited the statue of The Little Mermaid – one of Denmark’s most famous tourist attractions …

Boat View

… and even went into the protected waters of the Trekroner Fort, built in the late 18th century.

Boat View

In the United States, imagery was captured of the Golden Gate Bridge using a trekker camera attached to a modified Unmanned Surface Vehicle, which affords us an unusual perspective on the iconic bridge.

bridge

Boat View isn’t just for cities – Google has been to more exotic locales as well, such as the Rio Negro in Brazil (a tributary of the Amazon), where a small section of rainforest shoreline was imaged near the city of Manaus. This blog post shows that a Street View trike was strapped to the top of a boat!

Boat View

It allows us to see isolated homes, built on stilts because of regular flooding, and some very narrow inlets

Boat View Boat View

… and even some of the local wildlife!

Boat View

In the Pacific Ocean a couple of different boats were used to explore a few spectacular areas in the Galapagos Islands, such as Kicker Rock – the split remains of a volcanic cone.

Boat View

Wildlife is of course the main attraction – including sea lions and frigate birds on San Cristobal Island.

Boat View Boat View

Meanwhile a smaller boat explored the mangroves on Isabela Island.

Boat View

Perhaps the most adventurous expedition undertaken by Google’s cameras was a rafting trip through the stunning landscapes of Colorado River – a journey that is the focus of this long New York Times article.

Boat View

Boat View

Boat View

Enough about imagery from boats, we’ll end with imagery of a boat. The Research Vessel Falkor belongs to the Schmidt Ocean Institute founded by Google executive Eric Schmidt. A Street View camera toured nine areas of the ship while she was docked at a museum in San Francisco – this was one of the first ‘indoor’ Street View experiments to prove the technology.

From high on the mast (with the Golden Gate Bridge nearby) (Thanks to our eagle-eyed commenters who have rightly pointed out that this is actually the Bay Bridge, not the Golden Gate.)

Boat View

… to the bridge (ahem, who on a Google-related ship uses an iPhone rather than an Android phone?!) …

Boat View

… to the helicopter and boat deck (note in the background one of the hi-tech catamarans used for the recent America’s Cup) …

Boat View

… to the multi-screened research area

Boat View

… and all the way down to the engine room. (Are they always this colourful or is it Google colours?)

Boat View

You can read more about the project in this blog post and explore the ship here – use the 1-9 menu on the left to go to different areas.

If you have come across any other imagery captured from boats please post a link in the comments. This is surely an area where Google still has many cities and regions to explore, so we will likely do another post at some point in the future.

This is the second in an occasional series about out-of-the-ordinary imagery from Google Maps. In the first we visited wintery locations around the world in Google Snow View.


  1. Although this Google blog post does show a person carrying the Trekker in a gondola, we’ve yet to find any imagery from this. 

Locations: Arizona, Brazil, California, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Italy, Japan / Categories: Bridges, Buildings, Movie Locations, Natural Landmarks, Street Views, Structures, Watercraft

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Date: Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 23:41

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Date: Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 23:34

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Date: Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 16:17

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Date: Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 09:00

A year ago we previewed the venues which were under construction for the upcoming Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. With the Opening Ceremony taking place on February 7th1 – to be followed by the Paralympics Opening Ceremony on March 8th – we can look at the now-completed venues on Google’s updated satellite imagery of the coastal and mountain venues.

The coastal cluster is near Sochi Airport; it includes six venues, a medal-presentation plaza, the Athlete’s Village and the International Broadcast Centre. A photo sphere creator – Владимир Жабин – in Russia has created panoramic views in a couple of locations, allowing us to get a ground-level look at the venues in the absence of Street View coverage. The central plaza which will hold 20,000 people for nightly ceremonies and which includes an inclined tower which we think will be topped by the Olympic flame for the duration of the Games. The tower is quite similar in design to the one at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.

Sochi

Ceremonies will take place at the 40,000 capacity shell-like Fisht Stadium, which will also host some matches of the 2018 World Cup.

Sochi Sochi

To the west of the Stadium is the temporary Shayba (hockey puck) Arena which will hold some of the ice hockey games…

Sochi

… though the most important games will take place at the larger and permanent Bolshoy Ice Dome which is just next door.

Sochi

Continuing around the plaza we come to the Ice Cube Curling Centre, another temporary venue which doesn’t look very cube-like from this perspective.

Sochi

Long-track speed skating will take place at the Adler Arena Skating Centre, which includes windows allowing spectators inside to see the mountains off in the distance.

Sochi

The final competition venue in the coastal cluster is the Iceberg Skating Palace which will host figure skating and short-track speed skating.

Sochi

Athletes and team officials from 88 countries will be housed in new accommodations built to the north-west of the plaza, and along the coast, where some of them will have quite a nice view of the Black Sea.

Sochi Sochi

The world’s media will work at the International Broadcast Centre which is to the north of the plaza.

Sochi

Visitors staying outside the main coastal cluster will mostly arrive by train at a new station, then proceed though the ticketing and security checkpoint before continuing into the plaza.

Sochi

The mountain cluster of five snow-sport venues is about 40km inland from the coastal cluster. We mentioned a year ago that snow was being manufactured and stockpiled under insulating blankets in case this winter didn’t bring enough snow. However, in the recent satellite imagery there appears to already be a good accumulation, such as at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park where freestyle skiing and snowboarding will take place.

Sochi

Downhill ski races will be held at the nearby Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort, where we can see the stands for 8,000 spectators nearing completion.

Sochi

The Laura Biathlon & Ski Complex will host cross-country skiing events.

Sochi

The RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre is somewhat hidden in the mountain shadow, but we can make out the two jumps, landing areas and seating.

Sochi

The sunlight at the Sanki Sliding Centre reveals the sinuous curves of the track used for bobsleigh, luge and skeleton.

Sochi

A few photo spheres created by Михаил Тепляков allow us to see some locations around the mountain cluster, including this large set of Olympic rings with a lovely mountain vista behind.

Sochi

The scenic main square of the village.

Sochi

Confusing marketing slogans. “Hot. Cool. Yours”?

Sochi

And finally, more evidence that there is plenty of snow.

Sochi

And if you enjoy this last image you’ll love our recent post about Google Snow View.


  1. As we have mentioned in posts about past Olympics, competition in some sports actually begins the day before the Opening Ceremony, leading us to wonder how depressing it must be to get eliminated from competition before the Games are officially underway. 

Locations: Russia / Categories: Buildings, Stadiums and Sport, Street Views, Structures, Towers

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Date: Monday, 03 Feb 2014 16:04

You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
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Date: Monday, 03 Feb 2014 14:08

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Date: Sunday, 02 Feb 2014 09:30

Today is Groundhog Day, a North American festival which reckons that “if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end. If the groundhog sees its shadow because the weather is bright and clear, it will be frightened and run back into its hole, and the winter will continue for six more weeks.”

So in celebration, we’re posting Woodstock, Illinois, the location where most of the scenes from the excellent Bill Murray comedy of the same name were filmed (although it was actually set in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania). And yes, in our thumbnail of the town square you can actually see “Gobbler’s Knob”…

For fans of the movie, the official Woodstock website has a PDF map which identifies all the locations used.

Previously on Google Sightseeing: Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day.

Locations: Illinois, Pennsylvania / Categories: Movie Locations

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Date: Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 14:11

Daniel Libeskind is an American architect known for his bold and unconventional designs for buildings which often significantly (and controversially) transform the locations where they are constructed. His striking creations often feature extreme geometry and complex gravity-defying shapes, with external coverings of glass or technologically advanced materials. A prime example of this is the 2006 addition to the Denver Art Museum.

Inspired by the lofty peaks of the nearby Rocky Mountains, the Frederic C. Hamilton building consists of 20 unique angular planes supported by an internal structure of over 3,000 steel beams. The exterior walls are made up of hundreds of thousands of square feet of titanium.

Daniel Libeskind

Such extreme designs understandably elicit mixed reactions from other architects, the media, and the general public. Visitors and nearby residents are challenged by structures which are far beyond the form they are used to, particularly when these extreme modern designs are attached to historic structures. This was the case at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where the original century-old stone Italianate building was taken over by the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, designed by Libeskind. Its construction was met with sharply divided criticism and praise.

Daniel Libeskind

The complex structure of the Crystal has led to weather-related problems. Leaks were discovered soon after it opened, and precautions have to be taken to ensure that dangerous snow accumulations don’t cascade off the glass and aluminium cladding onto the pavement below. Similar issues have been reported at some of Libeskind’s other buildings.

Daniel Libeskind

Libeskind is of Polish Jewish descent, and he has worked on a number of buildings related to Judaism, World War II and military history. One of his earliest commissions was for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which takes the form of a reconstructed Star of David. Interior and exterior elements are intended to represent the realities of Jewish life in Germany. The zinc-coated exterior will slowly change appearance over time.

Daniel Libeskind

He also designed the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco – where the blue stainless-steel cube contrasts strongly with the historic building it connects to – and the interior of the Danish Jewish Museum in Copenhagen.

Daniel Libeskind

Another old-meets-new juxtaposition can be found at the Bundeswehr Military History Museum in Dresden, where a transparent arrowhead juts out of the original Armory building which dates to the 1870s.

Daniel Libeskind

The addition, shown under construction on Street View is intended to represent openness and democracy. It was part of a redevelopment of the museum which was closed following reunification because of its dark past, which included a time as a Nazi museum. It is now the largest museum in the country, presenting military history from a current viewpoint, and includes a viewing area overlooking the city devastated by British firebombs.

Daniel Libeskind

In Manchester, the Imperial War Museum North consists of three interlocking shards – representing parts of a globe shattered by conflict.

Daniel Libeskind Daniel Libeskind

Not all of Libeskind’s commissions are for museums – he has created a number of residential, commercial, academic and other buildings, with many more currently under construction or in planning phases. We’ll take a brief look at a few of his other structures, in rough chronological order of their completion.

In Bern, Switzerland – the Westside Shopping and Leisure Centre. No word on whether he designed the water slide!

Daniel Libeskind

In London – the Metropolitan University Graduate Centre.

Daniel Libeskind

The Wohl Centre at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

Daniel Libeskind

In Seoul – the facade of the Hyundai headquarters.

Daniel Libeskind

In Covington, Kentucky – the Ascent residential building.

Daniel Libeskind Daniel Libeskind

In Las Vegas – the CityCenter building at MGM Mirage.

Daniel Libeskind

In Dublin – the Grand Canal Theatre.

Daniel Libeskind

Libeskind was selected to oversee the master plan for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in New York, including the new commercial towers and the 9/11 memorial, though the actual design work was mostly done by other firms. He also designed a 9/11 memorial located in Padua, Italy – a structure representing an open book with a facade resembling the twin towers. It is believed to be the only 9/11 memorial in Europe to include an item from Ground Zero1 – a large metal beam removed from the wreckage and originally displayed at the 2002 Venice Biennale.

Daniel Libeskind Daniel Libeskind

For more on Daniel Libeskind’s work visit his studio’s site or Wikipedia.


  1. In Sligo, Ireland, there’s a monument dedicated to the 69th Infantry Regiment which contains a piece of steel from the World Trade Center – donated by the family of a local man who died in the attack. Coincidentally, the Street View imagery of the monument was captured during a memorial ceremony that took place on September 11th 2009. Thanks to Noel for the info. 

Locations: California, Colorado, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kentucky, Nevada, Ontario, South Korea, Switzerland / Categories: 45˚ Imagery, Buildings, Street Views, Structures

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You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
Author: "Alex Turnbull" Tags: "California, Colorado, England, Germany, ..."
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Date: Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 21:38

You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
Author: "Alex Turnbull"
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Date: Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 14:07

You're reading an entry from Google Sightseeing, which is copyright © 2014 Alex Turnbull & James Turnbull and must not be reproduced without permission.
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