The bridge is one of nine areas of the ship you can explore with street view. Click to interact.

The bridge is one of nine areas of the ship you can explore with street view. Click to interact.

Google has quietly released a high definition tour from the inside of a ship using its ever popular street view mapping function.

This summer Google took their cameras on board Schmidt Ocean Institute’s 272-foot research vessel, Falkor, while she was on a visit to the San Francisco Exploratorium’s new learning center facility at Pier 15 in downtown.

The street view begins in the engine room and includes 8 other preset “tours”, which include areas of the ship such as the bridge, control room and deck. We are told that with over 300 panoramics on 9 different levels, this is the most complicated Google indoor Street View collected to date.

You view the street view feature HERE and by dragging the street view icon over the ship.

Interestingly, one goal of the Falkor project was to provide an example of Google’s new public interface and tools available to collect indoor Street View, and is now leaving it up to any person or business out there to use a photographer who is in the trusted program who can do the whole process. More about that here.

RV Falkor profile. Image courtesy Schmidt Ocean Research

RV Falkor. Image courtesy Schmidt Ocean Research

So why the Falkor? Well, as it turns out, the Schmidt Ocean Institute was founded by none other than Dr. Eric Schmidt, philanthropist and Chief Executive at Google, along with his wife, Wendy.

SOI bought the vessel from the German government in 2009 and recently completed an extensive three year, $94 million conversion of the ship from a fishery protection vessel to the high-tech research vessel it is today.

“Falkor’s biggest goal is to help change the public conversation about ocean health,” said Ms. Schmidt at the Exploratorium, “We’re living on a planet where we really don’t even know most of what’s here. So, we would like to say it’s time that we did understand.”

Following her San Francisco debut, Falkor left the City by the Bay for British Columbia on two expeditions in Canadian and U.S. waters, before making her way southwest for several months conducting oceanographic research in the Central and Western Pacific.

More about the Schmidt Ocean Institute and the RV Falkor can be found at the SOI website.

PS – As some commentors have pointed out, NorthLink ferries has offered street view from inside their ferries, but only for a small portion of passenger areas and nothing as detailed as this.

 

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