Visit Uluru on Google Street View

You can now visit Uluru, or Ayers Rock in central Australia, on Google Street View. The tech giant opened the trails last month, after two years of filming with backpack-mounted 3D cameras and recording stories and songs from the traditional owners of the sacred place: the Anangu of the central desert.

Traditional owner, Sammy Wilson, sharing Tjukurpa stories with Miranda Schooneveldt, Parks Australia

The Indigenous Australians went a step further and  accepted to guide the Google team, and the online visitors, through the site, with stories and songs of their people. You can now visit the world famous Uluru while listening to tells from the Tjukurpa, the traditional Aboriginal lore. Much better then, say, visiting the Great Wall of China, also on Street View, where you’ll get the great sceneries but with no stories…

In the Google blog post presenting the project, Sammy Wilson, Aṉangu traditional owner of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park explains that “sometimes visitors come here and they see a beautiful place, but they don’t understand the Tjukurpa, the culture and the law and the knowledge and the history that this place holds…. It’s the living keeper of our culture. We want to teach those visitors about the Aṉangu understanding of this place.”

The virtual visit in Story Sphere combines the itinerary in Street View with stories, tales and song from the Aṉangu

Jason Pellegrino, director of Google Australia, agrees : “Since 2007, Google has mapped imagery of unique locations across 83 countries, including heritage monuments, touristic sites, museums, national parks and transit locations across the globe.  In the case of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, Tjukurpa warranted a more nuanced approach.  For Aṉangu, there is no distinction between the physical and metaphysical, or the animate and inanimate. People, earth, plants and animals are inextricably connected. This means that Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park could never be truly represented or understood (virtually or otherwise) without the presence and voices of its people.

We knew we had to bring these cultural and spiritual dimensions to the Street View experience. So we used the Story Spheres platform to add immersive audio stories and songs of Aṉangu traditional owners to the 360° Street View imagery. The result is an interactive, audio-visual guided tour, narrated by Sammy Wilson and with song and music by Traditional Owner and Aṉangu Elder, Reggie Uluru.”

The best way to experience this cross-over between high tech and traditions is through the cultural side project created by the Google Labs, named Story Sphere: Uluru on Story Sphere.

A video of the process:

Via: The Guardian

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