Pic­tur­ing the Red Cen­tre

An­cient wis­dom and mod­ern tech­nol­ogy com­bine to open up Ulur-u’s unique sights and sounds to the world.

Australian Geographic - - Geo Buzz - STORY BY CHRISSIE GOLDRICK

THERE ARE FEW SIGHTS more fa­mous than Ulur-u. The clas­sic pic­ture post­card view is recog­nised the world over, and for many that’s as close as they’ll ever get to this dual-listed UNESCO World Her­itage site. But an in­no­va­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Parks Aus­tralia, the An-angu (pro­nounced ah-nah-noo) Abo­rig­i­nal tra­di­tional own­ers of Ulur-u-Kata Tjut-a Na­tional Park, Tourism NT and search en­gine gi­ant Google’s in­ter­ac­tive map­ping plat­form Street View has gone be­yond the post­card. Now any­one with an in­ter­net con­nec­tion can take a vir­tual walk around the gi­ant red in­sel­berg un­der the ex­pert guid­ance of its tra­di­tional Abo­rig­i­nal cus­to­di­ans.

Street View is cel­e­brat­ing its 10th birth­day this year and, over time, the zones covered by the rigid little ‘peg­man’ have ex­panded from a few US cities to more than 80 coun­tries around the world – and be­yond: the In­ter­na­tional Space Station was added in July. Iconic lo­ca­tions have be­come a fo­cus for Street View, with nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments such as the Grand Canyon and Great Bar­rier Reef, and her­itage sites in­clud­ing the Taj Ma­hal and Lon­don’s Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum, now ac­ces­si­ble to the vir­tual trav­eller. Street View’s im­age-mak­ing tech­nol­ogy has evolved to record in very high def­i­ni­tion and han­dle a va­ri­ety of ter­rains, with cam­eras mounted on to var­i­ous modes of trans­port in­clud­ing

Lind­sey Dixon of Tourism NT ex­plores Ulur-u on foot car­ry­ing the Street View Trekker back­pack, cap­tur­ing images and data in ac­cor­dance with Tjukurpa law.

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