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A virtual trip to the Amazon River courtesy of Google Street View

March 22, 2012|By Deborah Netburn | This post has been corrected. See note below for details.
  • An image of the Amazon rain forest canopy, courtesy of Google Street View.
An image of the Amazon rain forest canopy, courtesy of Google Street View. (Google )

Armchair travelers, get ready to go to the Amazon River. Google Inc. announced Wednesday that street view images of the Amazon's Rio Negro Reserve is now available through Google's Street View.

The challenge is figuring out where to begin your exploration -- you can take a virtual hike in the rainforest, or imagine floating down the wide Rio Negro -- the largest left tributary of the Amazon, and the largest blackwater river in the world. (Spin around 180 degrees and you'll see the wake of the boat in the river).

We also liked exploring the smaller tributaries where the forest has flooded.

The images were captured via the Google Street View tricycle, which the Google Street View team strapped to the top of a small boat that cruised down waterways and pedaled around local trails and communities. Images of schools and community centers were collected through tripod technology.

In a blog post about the project, Karin Tuxen-Bettman, project lead of Google Street View in the Amazon, writes that her team used 50,000 still photos to create the immersive, 360-degree panoramic views.

Google's hard work is definitely your gain.

It is possible to start your explorations from Google Maps by going to the Brazil map and dragging Pegman to the Rio Negro, but make it easy on yourself by clicking on our links above or heading to the Street Map gallery.

Happy virtual travels!

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[For the record, 10:39 a.m., March 22: An earlier version of this story said 500,000 still photos were used to create the panoramic images. Also, Karin Tuxen-Bettman's name was misspelled.]

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