Google this week announced that it will begin collecting images in Botswana for the Street View feature in Google Maps.

SCENIC: The Okavango delta aerial view

In the coming weeks Google, using Chevrolet Captiva models, will begin driving around Botswana and taking photographs of a wide variety of places, including Gaborone, Francistown, and the country’s world-famous tourist and wildlife destinations, The Okavango Delta Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Street View is a hugely popular feature of Google Maps that is already available in more than 30 countries around the world. It allows users to virtually explore and navigate a neighbourhood through panoramic street-level images. It is also available in Google Earth and on Google Maps for Mobile.

Images collected by the cars will be processed and carefully stitched together, a technological process that can take several months. They will be made available at a later date in Street View on Google Maps for Botswana.

Businesses can also benefit from the Street View technology by embedding Google Maps directly into their site for free, helping them to promote a chain of hotels, B&Bs, or raise awareness about a local library or restaurant.

“We are delighted to be bringing our cutting-edge Street View technology to Botswana”, said Julie Taylor, Head of Communications and Public Affairs for Google, Sub-Saharan Africa.  “We look forward to bringing the many benefits of Street View to our Botswana users and businesses.

We also want to help Botswana showcase its extraordinary national parks and wildlife destinations to the rest of the world”.
Commenting on the initiative, the Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Honourable Onkokame Kitso Mokaila said: “The internet offers substantial opportunities for raising awareness about Botswana on a global stage.  In addition to being practical and educational for people in Botswana, Street View will give international visitors to virtually explore the country, and a chance to carry out tourism research in advance.  We are looking forward to Google bringing us some of their most innovative technology

Street View was first launched on the African continent in South Africa, just before the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  Some highlights from Street View in South Africa include imagery of dozens of cities and towns, the World Cup soccer stadia, heritage sites such as Vilakazi Street in Soweto, Kruger National Park and the Cape Winelands.

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