Google Earth in the Caribbean: “Street View” Capabilities As An Innovative ICT Way to Improve The Tourist Industry In Barbados and the Region

Submitted by James Bynoe, Senior Cyber Security Consultant
A Street View of Penguins on Half Moon Island, Antarctica - Click on image to be whisked away on Google Street View

A Street View of Penguins on Half Moon Island, Antarctica – Click on image to be whisked away on Google Street View

Today using Google Earth you can zoom into most neighbourhoods and business districts in Barbados and with just the click of a mouse you get beautiful “helicopter” type views of Barbados beaches, hotels, roads, homes, and more.  The level of detail provided by Google Earth is often quite amazing due to leading edge satellite and advanced imaging technology.

“However no Caribbean nation today had its newest feature called “Street View” which I believe could be a huge innovation boost to the tourist industry in Barbados and across the region…” – excerpt from Google:

Street View imagery is gathered by cars, or other platforms, equipped with advanced imaging technology. Once the photographs have been taken, they go through computer processing to make them ready for showing on Google Earth “Street View”.  The photos are then “stitch” together to make the 360-degree panorama that you see on Google Earth “Street View”.  Cutting-edge face and license plate blurring technology is also used to help ensure that passers-by in the photographs can’t be identified.

Google Earth’s Street View would provide potential visitors to Barbados with the ability to explore hotels, beaches and more through a 360-degree street-level view in addition to the current “helicopter” view provided by Google Earth for the region.  From the comfort of their homes potential visitors would be able to view locations in Barbados to help make that final decision, as they say “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

Barbados and no other Caribbean nation have the Google Earth “Street View” capability.  By using street view millions of potential visitors to Barbados would be able to view locations in Barbados from the comfort of their own homes it to help them make that final vacation decision.

Noting current challenges with the Barbados tourism industry and across to the region it may be time for public and private sector leaders in the tourism industry to aggressively approach “Google Inc.” about an initiative to “more aggressively” bring the Google Earth “Street View” capability to Barbados and the region.  Our case to Google as I see it would be extremely strong and would be a WIN-WIN for both Google and the region.  The Caribbean is one of the most travelled too region in the world therefore to me it only make sense that we have this capability.

Shared links on Google Earth – Street View”

This capability in my opinion would advance the tourism product in Barbados by providing an online visual experience of what so many of us in the Caribbean take for granted every day, which is the “pure beauty of the Caribbean at a street view level”.   For a potential visitor to Barbados being able to see “Miami” or “Dover” beaches via a “Street View” level could be the final thing needed for vacation booking to Barbados, which we all benefit from.

0 responses to “Google Earth in the Caribbean: “Street View” Capabilities As An Innovative ICT Way to Improve The Tourist Industry In Barbados and the Region

  1. Few points:
    1. Key to my recommendation is that the highest levels of goverment get involved as the only way to effectively get googles attention mainly from a PR perspective. Google should be approached in a formal strategic and coordinated manner, with multiple high probability paths to success. This can be done with the right folks leading.

    2. Rather then reinvent the wheel and noting the harsh economic times …. the time to innovate a street view like solution for us as a nation is not even penny wise.

    3. Until we as a nation one by one realize that many tradition ways of thinking are no longer applicable and cannot be upgraded to use an ICT methodor we will struggle with innovating thinking and entrepreneurship both things we say we want.

  2. @Sintie

    Thanks, hopefully James will chime in at some point.

  3. It often appears as if what we really have is an “execution” challenge on ideas like this and others, which to me is worst than an ideas challenge … As often there is nothing more demoralizing in business than to watch your own good ideas get executed by “others”

    Execution is everything as often it is better to do nothing than execute poorly … however with effective planning and not hip shooting would be my recommendation to making this iniative a reality.

  4. In response to the following excerpt post:

    Quote: >> “Back to Barbados – what exactly are we talking about with Street View? As strictly a tourism builder, Street View (when available) could be limited to certain selected areas and places – all cleaned up – integrated with the helicopter view for the rest of the island. There is then no urgent need for any formal numerical address system. The Street View/helicopter environment could be further extended with the virtual inside tours that already exist for some establishments (photos/videos can be submitted to Google).”

    _____

    JB: responses

    Whether we will admit it or not Barbados is still in 2012 an “unknown” travel destination for “too” many travelers in the U.S and Canada (the markets closest to us) (FACT) …. and we have not been effective at addressing this (FACT). Today we still maintain a U.K leaning mindset at the forefront of our Barbados tourism industry which in my opinion has to change as there are too many eggs on the U.K side of the basket ..

    Fortunately interesting enough it will cost us much “less” today to address this issue in the US, Canada and globally due to the power of the “INTERNET”, which must be leveraged by folks that “understand it” in a practical, tangible, actionable and cost effective manner.

    Google Street View simply only represents “one” piece of what should be an National Barbados Tourism Internet Focused Initiative … An initiative with the primary goal of “REINTRODUCING” Barbados Tourism products to the world using the “power of the internet and social media”.

  5. The Barbados Minister of Tourism should facilitate a special VIP invite to Google CEO for a discussion on a Google “Street View” PILOT in Barbados.

    If coordinated effectively CARICOM should be part of the discussions from a post pilot regional perceptive.

    Barbados should also support Google in getting the “Google” Street View Car and associated devices into Barbados to begin the imaging process with a note to capture the best Barbados street views.

  6. Colonel Buggy.

    Why do we always have to play the Tourist Card when we want something done in this country.

  7. @Colonel Buggy

    When you watch a war movie which is regard as the glamour force? The army, navy or airforce?

    Same here, the tourism ministry is always regarded as the glamour ministry given the importance of tourism one may suppose.

  8. barbados needs to get into the 21st century, googling streets wont let people see who is coming in and out of your house, it would only show the street views more clearer, also why isnt the entire country of barbados have wifi, and natural gas in almost every parish. If you want to boost about the leading carribbean country, barbados needs to be more technology savy.

  9. James:
    There has been no activity on this topic for a while, but I will be in Barbados next week and will be in a position to bring up this topic to see if I can find anyone interested in moving with it. However, I think I first need to clear it with as the idea was first suggested by you. In so doing, I will of course give credit.
    A quick reply would be appreciated.
    Sintie

  10. I believe this would be a great initiative for Barbados and the region in improving our overall tourism product. What organization do you represent? However any action that helps Barbados in this area you have my o.k. to run with it knowing its real world ict value.

  11. Please check your email at Caribbean Cyber Security Centre

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