Google Street View - Zooming in on Malta
In mid-June this year Malta became the 78th country to be featured in Google Maps’ popular Street View feature. Google initially started Street View in 2007 with 3D city street vistas of major USA cities. The service then ventured further afield with first France and Italy added and later other parts of Europe and the world included. Privacy issues have since compelled Google to blur out all people’s faces and car number plates, although countries like India have up to now rejected Google’s service citing security reasons.
The famous Google car toured the streets of Malta and Gozo in late 2016. During its time on the islands it clocked up an impressive 2,500 kilometres recording and collating data in virtually all of the islands’ roads, streets and country lanes. The feature undoubtedly has its uses for tourists visiting the islands. From finding the exact location of a hotel on a particular street, to seeing where the nearest pub, beach or bus-stop can be found. The maps can also be put to good use to plan walking or cycling treks in the cooler months of the year – with impeccable coverage of the country roads west of Rabat and virtually all the trails in Gozo that the Google car could squeeze through. You really cannot get lost now…
But more than this one gets a real sense of the street life of Malta with the varying contrasts that are captured as the Google car went through. From the busy streets of Saint Julians and Paceville to the more tranquil trails of the sparsely populated west of Malta. One also gets the priceless real life glimpses of life in Malta… the old men sitting and talking on a bench in a village square, the thriving piazzas with their cafes, the rising tower blocks of the Saint Julian’s area, farmers caught working fields. Other features include a walk-through of the Hypogeum in Paola and views of the Azure Window before it collapsed earlier this year.
For the very observant there is also a bit of unwitting advertising Google seems to have overlooked. One local taxi company, apparently aware of the Google car’s Malta visit, placed a tongue in cheek advert on a street wall in Paceville. While it welcomed Google to Malta it suggested that should they get lost they could call them to be picked up!
Google Maps Malta: https://www.google.com.mt/maps/place/Malta/
All images courtesy Google Maps