The first images will be published online sometime next year
For all its troubles, Google's Street View is a wonderful tool. And, while plenty of governments are scared about it, some are actually seeing the value of having all the streets in their cities photographed and made available online.Countries depending on tourism or wishing to expand this part of their economy benefit the most.
This is why Google's latest incursion is in partnership with the tourism ministry of Indonesia.
Photographing the country and all it has to offer will be the biggest such project in the region for Google, but it's got the full support of the government.
"We believe this mapping technology will have many different uses – allowing tourists to check out hotels before arriving, make travel plans, and arrange meeting points," Dr. Mari E. Pangestu, minister of tourism in Indonesia, said.
"And with these available digital tools, hotels, tourism sites and businesses can be more creative in making it easier for visitors to find their stores, location and websites," she added.
In fact, the Street View cars, the same ones used in several countries in the region already, will be adorned with a "Wonderful Indonesia" logo as they roam the streets.
The cars are already out and about, shooting in Jakarta and other big cities in the country. These images will take a few months to collect and process, before they are published online.
After this first wave, people in Indonesia will be able to vote on the places they want the Street View cars to go to next.
Google started a similar program in Thailand last year, again with the help of the tourism ministry in the country. The images shot last year were published this spring and some great tourism spots in the country can now be visited from any place on Earth.