It’s a place that features on many people’s bucket list, but we no longer have to visit Australia to explore Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The wait is over because Google has announced a collaboration with indigenous Australians, as well as Parks Australia and Tourism NT, to create an online experience of the sacred area through Street View.
For two years, Australia-based engineers have been working on the project with the Anangu of the central desert, the world’s oldest continuing culture. Google Street View will allow viewers to zoom in and out of the 600 million-year-old rock, take a closer look at cracks and crevices on the surface of the country’s most iconic landmark, walk along the Kuniya trail and explore the Kapi Mutitjulu waterhole.
Uluru is a site of great spiritual importance to the local Anangu people. They officially own the national park, which is leased to Parks Australia and jointly administered. In keeping with the wishes of traditional owners, not all areas of the World Heritage-listed monolith were captured, as there are some where the camera was not allowed due to the sacredness of those particular sites.
The interactive map has the additional element of Story Spheres to help guide people around. It will include stories and song from the Anangu people who will educate viewers on the site’s cultural significance and Tjukurpa traditional law.
Google worked closely with the Anangu people to make sure that the project was sympathetic to their culture. It took two years of conversations and work to put together the final Uluru Street View product. It is hoped that the project will be an inspiring educational resource that will give visitors a greater appreciation of the area and provide an improved life for the local Mutitjulu community.
As the finished result has been so successful, Google will now begin work on other culturally significant sites in Australia such as Kakadu.