As fireworks exploded over the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro Friday night, many of the city’s residents watched at a distance – some, from the roofs of buildings in their favela.
Although roughly one in five Rio residents lives in a favela – one of the slums dotted around the city – until recently, they didn’t appear on Google’s maps.
Instead of showing the many narrow lanes and businesses that make up each favela, the neighbourhoods were generally depicted by a grey blob.
The company has been working to correct this. According to a Google blog post, they teamed up with a local group to map the slums, and now 26 favelas appear on Google maps.
Google map of Rocinha – a favela in Rio
It’s a small start, given that there are some 1,000 favelas in Rio, but it’s progress.
READ MORE: ‘The Olympics aren’t for us’: Rio’s favela residents unimpressed with Olympics
Google has also used its Street View technology to capture 360-degree video of the favelas, and put together an interactive video tour on its website that lets users explore this other side of Rio.
When Rio won its Olympic bid in 2009, Brazil’s economy was on an upswing. But seven years later it’s a completely different story. The country is in a deep recession. As Vassy Kapelos reports, many Brazilians resent the amount of money the government is pouring into the Games.