Google has released a compilation of StreetView images that cover 44,000 kilometers of the region devastated by Japan's March 11th tsunami and earthquake. Users can view before and after footage as if they were right there, standing on the streets.
The project that would capture and share these images was announced back in July and has been in progress ever since. In addition to having access to the archived StreetView in the affected areas, Google provides both a snippet at the bottom-left that tells you when the photo was taken and the option to look at what the shot looked like before the disaster.
Beyond helping "researchers and scientists who study the effects of natural disasters," Google hopes the footage will put the event into perspective by bringing users right to the ground level of the disaster. You can view the new imagery by either visiting Google Maps for the affected regions and going into the "featured content" section, or by visiting the newly launched Memories for the Future website.
As you look at images, be certain to pay attention to the "before" and "after." I found myself browsing open fields, wondering what the images were meant to demonstrate – until I clicked through to snapshots of what the area had looked liked previously and realized that there had once been houses, forests, and cars at these very spots.
To give an idea what sort of footage you should expect, I collected a few snapshots. Keep in mind, though, the real scope of the disaster is most clear when using the full panoramic view Google has provided – as shown in this embed:
Here are some additional screen-captures:
Google has contributed to recovery and information efforts with the tsunami on several occasions before. The company quickly gave aid in the aftermath of the event by creating a crisis response page and other online resources. They then helped spread word about the difficulties the areas faced by providing updated satellite imagery of the Tsunami's damage and custom Google Maps for the affected areas.
Please feel free to share in the comments, any imagery or co-ordinates which you find through these tools that you find to be especially powerful.
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