27 September 2013 by Alex Stewart
Google has added the extraordinary landscapes of Ecuador's Galapagos Islands to Google Street View. As in other street view projects, you can now explore the islands from your computer, with the ability to zoom in and out and move around the images.
The high-definition 360 degrees pictures are a joint project between Google, the Galapagos National Park, the Caitlin Sea Survey and the Darwin Foundation; the launch of the imagery marks the 178th anniversary of Charles Darwin's visit, a trip that helped to inspire his theory of natural selection.
Images were taken using a special backpack camera during 10 days in May; the special street view cameras feature 15 lenses that automatically take photographs every 2.5 seconds. The resulting images feature many of the animals for which the region is well known. Camera crews dived with sea lions, watched giant tortoises eating and trekked on the island's highest volcano. There is also footage of marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and Frigatebirds.
Viewers can also log onto a web app, Darwin for a Day, which allows users to document the animals and plants they see in the footage. Google added that the footage would help with ongoing research of the islands, including animal migration patterns and the impact of tourism.