Google Maps explores the faraway Arctic with Street View

The tech giant's mapping team goes further north than it's ever been to add in roads, rivers, and lakes in the beautiful Canadian Arctic, which is only accessible by plane or boat.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
The Street View Trike collecting imagery of Cambridge Bay. Google

Far beyond the Arctic Circle -- nearing the North Pole, where tundra, snow, and glaciers are commonplace year-round -- is an area called Cambridge Bay in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut. It sits in the Canadian Arctic and is only accessible by plane or boat.

This is the newest location to hit Google Maps Street View.

"Today, we've set out on a mission to build the most comprehensive map of Canada's Arctic region to date," Google Earth Outreach team member Karin Tuxen-Bettman wrote in a blog post today. "This is our first trip to the Canadian territory of Nunavut, and together with community members and government officials, we'll use Google Map Maker and Street View to share the beauty of the Arctic and the Inuit culture with people around the world."

Cambridge Bay is a tiny village of 1,500 people and only has a few gravel roads; it's the furthest north that the Google Maps Street View team has traveled in Canada. The team members are working with local representatives riding around the Street View trike and using Google's Map Maker to add in the area's roads, rivers, lakes, and historic locations. All of these points of interest will also be translatable into the local Inuktitut language.

"This is a place with a vast amount of local knowledge and a rich history," local resident Chris Kalluk, who is collaborating on the mapping project, said in a statement. "By putting these tools in the hands of our people, we will tell Nunavut's story to the world."

Google Maps' Street View has recently launched several collaborations that take it beyond city streets. In March, it brought a remote region of Brazil's Amazon to its maps and in February it took its cameras underwater to explore Australia's Great Barrier Reef in a program called the Catlin Seaview Survey. It has also explored areas near the South Pole in a mapping project of Antarctica, where armchair explorers can see snow-filled vistas, blue-tinted glaciers, and penguins.

Here's a screenshot of Cambridge Bay on Google Maps:

Cambridge Bay on Google Maps Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET