BUENOS AIRES – Google Street View offered a virtual tour Wednesday of six slums around Buenos Aires as part of a project launched by non-governmental organizations to introduce the app’s users to a segment of Argentine society that usually remains unseen and isolated.
Over a number of months, Google allowed two NGOs, TECHO and the Civilian Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ) to use its technology to compile 360-degree images of slums which, until now, remained uncharted and dangerous areas on maps and GPS.
“The world will now be able to use smartphones to enter and tour these neighborhoods, and the neighborhoods will be able to tour the world,” Google Argentina managing director Federico Procaccini said, adding that the platform’s mission was to allow people to travel anywhere in the world.
Google Street View has uploaded images from more than 240 cities and 180,000 kilometers (110,000 miles) of roads in Argentina, but the inclusion of slums stems from the tech giant’s intention to give the world a chance to “value and become sensitive to differences in the country,” Procaccini said.
Now, the capital’s “villas,” or slums, 20, 21-24 and 31, as well as the Alberti, San Cayetano and Los Pinos neighborhoods in the surrounding province of Buenos Aires, are part of Street View and Google Maps just like any other place in Argentina, a project that benefits more than 136,000 people.
To capture images in the slums’ streets, Google used 20-kilo (44-pound) Trekker gear in a backpack, a technology that can go where the company’s cars cannot reach, topped with a green ball containing a 15-lense camera that shoots in all directions every 20 meters (22 yards).