Posted by: Waheeda Harris | April 5, 2013

Mapping the Caribbean – palm tree, goat and cow

Bahamas- South Abaco roadWhile visiting the island of St. Lucia (more on that next week!) one of my colleagues and I started a discussion about Google Maps and street view.

For those of us in North America and Europe, the Google car became a bit of obsession in the past few years, as it zoomed around our city and rural streets, recording our cities.

And as the street view showed business districts, shopping areas and residential neighbourhoods, it also revealed personal information – like licence plates, signs and faces, all of which Google had to go back and block it out by making it out of focus.

So as we discussed stories we had read about people’s problems with street view, like the double CN Tower that first appeared when Toronto’s street view was revealed, or someone’s persona life put on display and resulted in a lawsuit, I wondered about the Caribbean.

For travellers to this region, we know that these islands are all distinct and would be interesting to map, for their unique topography and beaches.

But it would also be difficult as many of these islands have only a few main roads with names, and many sharing the same names – Eastern Road, Western Road, Shore Road and Coast Road.

And there’s many places where there’s only one road, so why would a sign or name be needed when everyone knows where it leads?

But my favourite of this conversation was how to describe certain places and how the maps would explain what had been documented by the Google car. Two palm trees, then one goat, then turn by the yellow house! See the mountain, turn left to get to the pink house! When you see the black beach, its a left turn past four goats and a cow, and then up hill!

So Google are you going to do it? And when can I join the team to wander the islands and figure it all out?

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