Six countries, three capitals, fortresses, river gorges and thousands of breathtaking landscapes. All these make an invitation extended by Google for everyone to take a trip along the Danube, from Bratislava to Cernavoda in southern Romania.
Six countries, three capitals, fortresses, river gorges and thousands of breathtaking landscapes. All these make an invitation extended by Google for everyone to take a trip along the Danube, from Bratislava to Cernavoda in southern Romania. The invitation was launched as Google Maps published Street View images of Europe’s most representative water flow. Google navigated and photographed the Danube in the summer of 2014, taking over images from Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, and then posted these images on Street View. So those interested can explore two thirds of the river Danube.
Google country manager Dan Bulucea told us more about the aforementioned launch.
”For us it was an important moment, it is the first Street View launch, comprising six countries: it’s actually a cruise, a virtual one that is, yet no less important, taking you along the Danube, starting from Austria’s border with Slovakia, passing through such countries as Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, reaching as far as Cernavoda. Any Internet user at the moment can see the capital of Hungary, can see the capital of Serbia, the big Gorges or the Cernavoda bridge. First off, as we get ourselves comfortably seated in our chair in front of the computer, we can have a glimpse of how those areas look like, we can have a first impression of all that; I personally think the computer image will never be able to replace the emotion of being physically present there, but at least it can help us to have an image of what the region looks like, similarly, we may be able to take note of certain things in detail, we can discover a new perspective of what a cruise on the Danube means, we can have our own opinion as regards the areas which are well worth visiting and, why not, we may find inspiration for our trips and holidays in the future. “
The performance is all the more special since it makes such a cruise accessible. Actually, what Street View allows for in general is to spot one place or another out of a couple of hundred countries around the world, our guest also told us, after giving us an account of how the shooting was made.
”It’s all about a recording, made with a special camera; there are actually 15 cameras on a platform, taking a 360-degree, bird’s eye view image, creating the perception we can almost have a surrounding image of all that, wherever we may be. Street view tracker, as this is the name of the platform with which we made our journey along the Danube, it can also be put in a backpack, in someone’s back, so that it can enter places inaccessible to cars, for instance. We constantly try our best to update all the images. For that launch of the Danube, images were recorded last year, and we constantly try to update them. For certain reasons, such as bad weather, some of the recordings are not that accurate, so they cannot be posted. But if all that goes with a specially accurate map, if to all that we add traffic info for instance, Street View only adds up to our virtual experience, meaning that, if in the past we could do with a printed map, now we have many more demands: we would like to know where we are, we might also want to know where our friends are so that together can find the perfect restaurant where we can get together and have a cup of coffee.”
If it’s common practice for drivers to choose the shortest route to follow in a city to reach a destination, taking into account traffic conditions and other factors of delay such as road repair works, the Street view technology for the Danube River does not refer to speed or boats but to the beauty of landscapes. It provides a selection of spectacular places and moments caught on Google cameras down the Danube River such as the statue of Dacian King Decebalus at the Cazanele Mici Gorges or a sunrise from under the Cernavoda bridge. Here is back with details Dan Bulucea:
“I was born in the south west of Romania, a region boasting very scenic places. Naturally when I had to make the pictures, the first thing I did was to go there and see once again Orsova, the Gorges, places that I personally like very much. On this portion of the Danube there are 3 important capitals: Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade which, I believe, deserve being admired even from a boat sliding down the river. I would also mention the Iron gates and the Giurgiu-Ruse and Cernavoda bridges. And I’m positive that a sunrise seen from aboard a cruise boat down the Danube has its own charm.”
And because this year we celebrate ten years since the launch of Google Maps, Dan Bulucea told us about the close relationship that Google has with Romanian users:
“Before this, we used to read printed maps, that became outdated the moment they were printed. Now, with digital maps, we want them to be complete, to be accurate, to be interactive and customized, we want to know where parks are, we want to know where cafes are, and various services. The map has to adapt to our needs. We have done that somewhat. In its 10 year existence Google Maps became a product used by over a billion people every month all across the world. There are over 200 countries which have an accurate map on Google Maps, which is impressive, and what is particular about Romania is the way in which the users update maps. We have a very active community of users in Romania, who have the tools, and who knows better than the users how things are in a given neighbourhood. We have the ability to update constantly, because the world is constantly changing, if we want a complete and accurate map, it has to be changing all the time.”
We are extending an invitation for a cruise on the Danube, first a virtual one, and then, possibly, one where you could check the accuracy of maps for yourself.