Google offers a glimpse of Japan's tsunami devastation

Back in July of this year, Google announced its intention to “digitally archive” panoramic images of areas of North-Eastern Japan in an attempt to bring home to billions all over the globe the tremendous size and scale of, and devastation caused by, the March 11 tsunami that tore through  eastern coastal regions following the country's most powerful earthquake since records began.

The search-engine giant has now lived up to its promise and has made live hauntingly-real images of a Japan shocked by the natural disaster, with Google's Street View cars capturing 360-degree shots from over 44,000 miles of road across Japan's eastern seaboard. Available to be seen through the regular Street View feature on Google Maps, the images can also be viewed on their own dedicated website entitled “Build The Memory”, where it is also possible to view pre and post-disaster pictures. It's remarkable how telling such a simple feature can be, but it's in flicking between the two – from seeing a thriving, busy, industrious town then, to the reality it faces now; in which buildings lie in ruins and wreckage scatters the streets – where Google's project to raise awareness of those still in need becomes so justified.

“We hope this particular digital archiving project will be useful to researchers and scientists who study the effects of natural disasters,” says Kei Kawai, Senior Product Manager of Street View. “We also believe that the imagery is a useful tool for anyone around the world who wants to better understand the extent of the damage. Seeing the street-level imagery of the affected areas puts the plight of these communities into perspective and ensures that the memories of the disaster remain relevant and tangible for future generations”.

Source: Google Blog