You will not be the first to explore the islands’ biodiversity, and you won’t be arriving on the HMS Beagle, but you also no longer need to face the hardships of a long sea journey to visit the Galapogos. Google Street View has made the trip for you and, as the team always does, it recorded every moment so that you can visit without leaving your computer.
The search giant partnered with the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park and Charles Darwin Foundation in order to capture panoramic imagery of the small island group. The company hopes the data will not just be a source of enjoyment for Street View users, but also “play an instrumental role in the ongoing research of the environment, conservation, animal migration patterns, and the impact of tourism on the islands”.
According to Raleigh Seamster, Project Lead for Google Earth Outreach, “Darwin for a Day is a web application that invites you to step into Darwin’s shoes by exploring the Galapagos Islands through Google Street View and document its unique plants and animals. When you see an animal or plant you’d like to catalogue, you can describe it by creating an observation. You can just enter your best guess as to what it is — for example, ‘bird’ — or enter in the scientific name, if you know it! All of your observations will be shared with the iNaturalist community & the Charles Darwin Foundation, and will contribute to research of the Galapagos Islands”.
If that isn’t enough, Google has also posted a behind-the-scenes experience, adding to this latest Street View journey. The company could have held out for a Darwin Day launch, but February is a ways off and this data is good to have available sooner rather than later.