News, Technology

Google Puts Cambridge Bay, Nunavut On Street View

Google Street View Trike
Google Street View Trike in the United Kingdom. Image: Alan Sim

People around the world will soon be able to see what life in a small northern community looks like, thanks to Google Street View.

The hamlet of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, was photographed for Google Street View in August. The images should be online in a few months.

Street View is a feature of Google Maps which allows users to see panoramic street-level photographs of the places on a map.

In Street View, the user can click on arrows and “travel” along the streets, seeing the buildings, houses and sidewalks.

Many places around the world have been mapped by Street View but Cambridge Bay, which is located on the southeast coast of Victoria Island in Canada’s Arctic, is the farthest north so far.

Cambridge Bay has a population of about 1,500 people. It has a bank, a post office, two department stores and a fast-food outlet with KFC and Pizza Hut. The community can be reached only by airplane, and there are no cars there. Residents use snowmobiles or sometimes trucks to get around.

There is Internet access via satellite, but the connection is so slow that most people stay away from websites with a lot of images or video – like Street View.

Chris Kalluk is a geographic information systems co-ordinator who has lived in Cambridge Bay most of his life. After attending a workshop in Vancouver on how to edit Google Maps, Kalluk invited Google Street View to photograph Cambridge Bay so people from other places could see what it was like. He told the CBC it was like inviting people to his home.

To photograph a place for Street View, Google usually uses a car with cameras attached to it, but for Cambridge Bay they used a special tricycle. The tricycle has seven cameras, all pointing in different directions. As the rider pedals along the street, the cameras take pictures which are later put together to create a 360-degree view of the street.

People from the community helped Google to improve its regular map of Cambridge Bay by correcting mistakes and adding important local landmarks. Google has provided training and equipment so Kalluk and others can travel to other Nunavut communities and help create a more accurate map of the Arctic.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Cambridge Bay, as part of his annual northern tour, while the team from Google Street View was there. The Prime Minister announced that the federal government would invest close to $200-million in a new Canadian High Arctic Research Station which will be built in Cambridge Bay over the next few years.

Some other unusual places that can be seen on Street View include the Amazon rain forest in Brazil, the Swiss Alps, Punalu’u County Beach in Hawaii and the Great Barrier Reef (underwater) in Australia.

Related links

The Hamlet of Cambridge Bay (click on Attractions for some interesting photos)

Canadian government’s “Atlas of Canada” page about Cambridge Bay

Street View technology

Street View gallery


By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
How does a website like GoogleStreet View help us to better understand the world? What other websites do you use to gain more knowledge about different countries around the world?

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Go on the Internet and see if you can find your home on Google Street View. Does your neighbourhood look the same online as it does in real life? Is anything different?

In what ways does your street look the same/different than the images that are taken of Cambridge Bay? (Hint: go on The Hamlet of Cambridge Bay link to get a clearer idea of the area).

Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insight, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Commas in a List
Commas are often used in sentences in order to separate items in a list. Identify the sentences in this article where commas are used in lists and identify how the journalist knew where to place the commas.