November 28, 2012 5:25 am

Google Maps travels to Canada’s north


It’s one of the most remote communities in Canada.

It is accessible only by plane or boat, and has a population of about 2,000 people.

But now Google really has put the hamlet of Cambridge Bay on the map.

Armed with the Google Trike, a team from the Toronto office set off last August and spent a week mapping the community and its treasures.

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Aaron Brindle, a Google spokesperson, said there was no Street View imagery from that region, and they were approached by a member of the community more than a year ago asking for Google’s help to map their home.

“Here in Toronto, I’m closer to Cancun than I am to Cambridge Bay,” he said, “it is really far.” But that did not deter the Google team.

“We wanted to improve the map, and part of improving the map of Cambridge Bay was actually getting members of the community – elders, business owners, teenagers – together in a room to use our map-maker product, which basically allows them to edit our Google Map,” added Brindle.

Listen to Aaron explain about the project, how it came about, and what you can now see:

With the help of the nonprofit organization Nunavut Tunngavik Inc and the people of Cambridge Bay, anyone can now explore Omingmak Street, the Old Stone Church, local stores such as one called the Arctic Closet, and even the hockey and curling arena, which is frozen naturally by flooding it in the winter.

Brindle said Google plans on being back in Canada’s north in 2013, but couldn’t provide any more information at this time.

“I think for me what was really special was working with the members of the community, and seeing how empowering this technology can be,” he said. “I think there’s something kind of magical that happens when you start to see your community reflected back to you on the map.”

“I think that’s something we can take for granted, especially in the southern parts of this country.”

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