Tag Archives: Greece

Stunning new Street View imagery gives tourism boost to Greece

Just in time for spring vacation planning, Street View imagery of Greece has arrived in Google Maps. Starting today, travelers can get an immersive look at the Greek landscape, unveiling some of the country’s major cities, tourist destinations, cultural and historic sites, and natural landscapes. Collected with the the Street View Trekker, a wearable backpack with a camera system on top, this imagery allows potential tourists to virtually walk through the mountainous and winding pathways of Greece, enticing them to visit in person.

This imagery update is part of Google’s commitment to help the Greek tourism sector grow, bringing more local content online as part of the Grow Greek Tourism Online initiative, which provides Greek tourism entrepreneurs free trainings and online tools to grow their business throughout the year.

To get a glimpse of some of the country’s highlights, travelers can begin their Greek journey at Meteora, which literally translates to “middle of the sky.” This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos.

Then tourists can enjoy the view of Athens from Lycabettus hill. According to Greek mythology, the Goddess Athena dropped this mountain in surprise after hearing bad news from a raven. No matter its origin, the vistas are a beautiful place to enjoy the warm, Greek sun above and the urban landscape below.

Next, travelers can cruise to a lagoon called Balos off the coast of Crete. This islet forms part of a cape through the lagoon called Cap Tigani (which means "frying pan" in Greek).

Continuing their exploration of Crete, tourists can also traverse the Samaria Gorge, a National Park and a World's Biosphere Reserve, with a length of 18 km.

This is just a sample of all the wonderful views available now in Street View in Google Maps. To explore more of the collection, view this Greek gallery.

And businesses can also benefit from Street View technology by embedding Google Maps directly into their website for free, helping to promote these locations -- whether it’s a hotel chain, tourist destinations or a local library, museum or restaurant.

Launching voices of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Sea is the cradle of Western civilization - but all too often today is seen as an area of conflict. Together with the Voces Fondation, we are today launching a project designed to promote the development of a Mediterranean as a common place of respect, peace and solidarity.

Our focus is engage young people between the ages of 14 and 22 from Spain in the West to Palestine in the East that are interested in photography and audiovisual arts. Voces Foundation already has created a G+ page (Voices of the Mediterranean) where people can share pictures and videos about what the Mediterranean means, highlighting those aspects that bring us together instead of those aspects that separate the different cultures and countries.

Specific topics that will be discussed include access to water and other natural resources and to access to Internet and new technologie. Other subjects range from education and culture; gastronomy; entrepreneurship with social impact - and above all, peace. Actors and singers including actress Elisa Mouliaá or the musician and composer Rash already are contributing. Participate using the hashtag #Nostrum.

At the end of the project, we will hold a contest to choose the most interesting photos, painting and videos. Please contribute!

Spurring Greek tourism

For the past five years, an economic meltdown has plunged Greece into crisis. Amid the the rubble, the country’s economic motor more than ever has become tourism. It now accounts 17% of GDP, and powered by the Internet, is demonstrating, a high potential for growth. Our "Grow Greek Tourism Online” program, launched, in partnership with the Minister of Tourism, the National Tourism Board and the Federation of Tourism Enterprises, allows B&Bs, neighborhood restaurants and even specialty ice cream shops and bars to use the Internet and reach new customers.

The program provides tourism entrepreneurs with digital skills and tools to grow their business during and beyond Greece’s short summer tourism season. About 70 percent of the country's tourism arrivals take place between June and September. Although Greece's islands and beaches are delightful in spring and autumn, only about 17 percent of tourists come in May, October and November. “Now, more than ever, it is possible to gradually extend the tourist season. Through web partnerships and the use of innovative tools, we make a further step in this direction," said Olga Kefalogianni, the Minister of Tourism.

The opportunity is significant: According to recent research by Oxford Economics, an increase in the online activities of the Greek tourism industry can grow Greece’s GDP by 3% and create 100K new jobs.

As a first step, we kicked off the program in Crete (which accounts for 15 percent of the country’s tourism business), hosting events for small and medium sized businesses in the island’s two largest cities, Chania and Heraklion. More than 600 companies participated. Greece’s National Tourism Board EOT launched a campaign for Crete as an autumn tourism destination on their +Page with over 1.4 million followers. “Everyone involved in tourism must take advantage of the web." said EOT’s General Secretary, Panos Livadas. The President of the Federation of Tourism Enterprises Andreas Andreadis summed up the project best: "That’s a strong bright light which should help power Greece out of its long economic gloom.”

Street View arrives in 56th country – Greece

Greece is home to many of the world’s great cultural and historical monuments and remarkable landscapes, making it a natural for Street View, which allows web users to take panoramic real-life virtual tours of public roads. That’s why we’re particularly excited to announce the launch of the pathbreaking service this month, making Greece the 56th country added to Street View. From now on unique Greek landmarks, such as the Corfu Old Town, the White Tower in Thessaloniki and the Arch of Hadrian in the center of Athens, will be vividly represented on our computer screens. We’ve gathered some of our favourite scenes in our Views Gallery.

The serene port in Mykonos
Many Greeks long have been keen for us to bring its benefits to their country, seeing Street View as a powerful tool for the promotion of a country. At a launch event in Athens, Andreas Andreadis, President of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, said the new service will prove invaluable to tourists coming to Greece — and Greek businesses serving them. Visitors now will be able to check their hotel in advance and preview the areas and sites they are about to visit. Street View benefits everyone from the wheelchair user who can check whether a building has a ramp to the elderly who may check whether there are sufficient parking spots before leaving home. Minister of Culture and Sports Panos Panagiotopoulos welcomed Street View in Greece as nothing less than “a gift from God.”

Many other types of Greece businesses will benefit. Anyone can embed Google Maps directly into their site for free, helping them to promote a chain of hotels, tourist places, points of history and cultural importance or increase awareness of a local library or restaurant. Event organizers will be able to evaluate locations, restaurants, hotels, museums. Real estate agents will save time not only by exploring properties.

The White Tower in Thessaloniki, on a typically sunny Greek day
As always, we’ve build privacy safeguards into Street View — we blur people’s faces and vehicle license plates automatically — and if anyone sees a need for additional blurring, they can let us know by clicking on ‘Report a problem’ in the bottom left corner of the screen.

We're excited to be launching our first Greek imagery, but our journey is far from finished - we are already planning to redrive and refresh the Greek imagery.

Become a cartographer: help us improve Europe’s maps

Maps are no longer static paper records, but living, breathing representations of our world. Places around us are constantly changing — while mountains don’t move, roads are rerouted, homes are built, shops open and close. Many times, the best way to keep Google Maps fresh and up to date is by allowing anyone, anywhere with an Internet connection to contribute to the map using their knowledge of the areas they know best. So we’re delighted that Google Map Maker is now available for budding cartographers to edit our maps of Greece, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

With Map Maker, everyone can contribute your local expertise to make an even more comprehensive, useful and interesting map. Begin in your town or village and try adding the outlines or ‘footprints’ of local shops, restaurants and other businesses. Then help enrich the maps of national parks, or add leisure facilities and historic landmarks. If you enjoy the great outdoors, try adding campsites, beautiful beaches or your favorite cycling paths.

Whether you add a biking route through Tallinn or a landmark in Vilnius, each improvement to the map will help locals and tourists alike better understand the area and discover new things to do. Once approved, your contributions will appear on Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Maps for mobile.

The map of Korčula, Croatia, often cited as the birthplace of Marco Polo, before and after Map Maker edits

To get started, visit our Google Map Maker community forum and see the Help Centre for tips and tricks, or watch mapping in real-time with Map Maker Pulse. Happy mapping!

Promoting Child Safety in Greece

The play takes place on a farm with many animals who love to surf the Internet. Unfortunately, they soon run into trouble. A naughty pig finds how dangerous it is to reveal personal data online. A shy hen runs encounters difficulties after talking to strangers online. Playful geese learn the importance of cross-checking the reliability of information they find online. Thankfully, a wise owl and the two kids living in the farm always come to the rescue.

In Greece, in collaboration with Saferinternet, we took this play called “The Internet Farm” on tour through ten cities around the country. In addition to the theater, the program included integrated digital workshops for children and informative sessions for teachers and parents.

The project attracted widespread support. Besides the national Ministry of Education, some 30 local and regional organizations offered their support. They included Western Greece's Education Directorate , the IT teachers Association of Evros, the municipality of Chania, the Region of Crete, and the Church of Kalamata.

The tour had a strong impact. About 40,000 children and 3,000 parents and teachers attended the play and participated in the activities. Many theaters were fully booked, with some spectators standing or sitting on the steps.

Our hope is that the show’s lessons are carried beyond the theater. Many of the educators who are involved are taking the messages back to their classrooms. So the Internet Farm will live on - and maybe even spawn a sequel.