Google has taken Street View to new heights, sending its cameras to the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – the world’s tallest man-made structure – to snap its first ever skyscraper photography. The new images, which mark the latest of Google’s diversions to interesting, difficult-to-reach, or generally off-limits locations, include shots taken from the 124th floor, at the observation deck, as well as from the 80th floor.
Although you might assume the 80th level would be less intimidating than the very top of the tower, that might not be the case. Google sent its cameras down on one of the Burj’s maintenance units, and as such it’s hanging off the very side of the building.
There’s also imagery from the 163rd floor, which is the highest occupied floor, and from the swimming pool – a record-breaker too, as the highest pool in the world – on the 76th floor.
In all, it’s the first time Google has put skyscraper photography on Street View, and the views are impressive. It’s also the first collection in the Arab World, Google says, and was the handiwork of three days of shooting.
Since Google couldn’t exactly send a Prius with a camera around the tower, it used some of its more specialized image-collection tools. The Street View Trolley, for instance, was initially designed to survey museums, and puts all the necessary camera and data-logging kit onto a push-cart.
Compact as it is, Trolley still can’t be manhandled into a maintenance gondola, and so Google turned to Trekker instead. Worn on the back, attached to a modified backpack and operated with an Android device, Trekker snaps images from 15 different cameras simultaneously, one batch every 2.5s, and these images are later integrated into a 360-degree panorama.