Google has announced that it is bringing Street View to Indonesia in what will be its biggest project in Asia to date.
The company has readied a fleet of distinctive Street View cars, which will drive across the country snapping and documenting roads in order to build the feature into Google Maps. Since Indonesia — which has a population of more than 220 million — is a large country that consists of many islands, it will take a “few years” before it is completed, as Google explains.
“This activity represents a long-term investment with the long-term objective of capturing imagery across Indonesia over the next few years. These images will be made available at a later date in Street View on Google Maps.”
Google is pushing the tourism value of Street View and it says that the project will “change the way Indonesians and tourists around the world can experience Indonesia”. With that in mind, it is partnering with the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy to carry out the initiative – as it did with Thailand’s Tourism Authority earlier this year.
Street View and Google Maps have caused headaches for some governments — with privacy issues, land and border disputes — so it makes sense that, particularly in Asia, where regimes can be more inclined to censor and disrupt online content, the US search giant is working in unison with authorities.
Indeed, the Street View cars themselves will bear the Ministry’s ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ logo.
Dr. Mari E. Pangestu, Indonesia’s minister of tourism and creative economy, explained her belief that the advanced features of Google Maps and Street View will help tourists better plan their trips and explore the country.
“Tourism is such an important contributor to Indonesia’s economy and with the help of features like Google Maps, we hope to promote sustainable tourism by giving people a whole new way to experience Indonesia. We believe this mapping technology will have many different uses – allowing tourists to check out hotels before arriving, make travel plans and arrange meeting points. And with these available digital tools, hotels, tourism sites and businesses can be more creative in making it easier for visitors to find their stores, location and websites.”
Google confirm that it will begin mapping Jakarta and “other major cities” and, as it has done in other markets, it will turn to Indonesian people themselves for suggestions on which parts of the country it should map. Google product manager Andrew McGlinchey confirmed that, over the coming months, it will announce an initiative to let locals provide suggestions.
Street View is available in more than 40 markets worldwide. In Asia, that includes Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore and Thailand.
Headline image via aiyoshi / Shutterstock