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