Google Street View from 22,000 feet

Google is continuing to push the limits of its Street View technology, this time by adding images in some of the highest points on the planet.

In a series of expeditions by Google employees throughout 2011 and 2012, the company was able to add Street View images for four of the Seven Summits -- the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents.

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Google captured the parts of Mount Everest in Asia and the summits of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Elbrus in Europe and Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America.

The Street View panorama for Aconcagua summit, which is now the highest point viewable on Street View at more than 22,800 feet in elevation, can be seen below.

The highest point on Google Street View prior to the addition of Aconcagua was Mount Evans in Colorado, which has an elevation of nearly 14,300 feet.

The 360-degree panoramic views were shot by Google employees using off-the-shelf cameras and tripods, and they were stitched together after the climbs with the proprietary software Google uses to create its Street View images.

Google’s Dan Fredinburg, a technical program manager for the company’s privacy and security team, was on four trips and said the Google employees faced a number of obstacles on each one.

“In every one of these trips you are going up against the elements,” he told The Times. In the Everest expedition, “a plane crashed similar to the one that we were on to get in, and after that, there was three days of mudslides, snowstorms and then there was the earthquake, which was a 6.9 magnitude earthquake which was absolutely terrifying for everyone who was on the expedition as well as the locals.”

Fredinburg said the new Street View images should help others who are planning to take similar journeys see what they’ll be up against and prepare better.

“Being an adventurer and having access to all this technology, I had the ability to go out and capture a lot of photography and bring it back and share it with the world,” he said.

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