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From Street View to the top: Google takes you inside the Burj Khalifa
June 26, 2013 1:00 by kippreport
By Steven Bond, published first on sister website AMEinfo.com
Cyber tourists can now reach dizzying new heights, but keep their feet firmly on the ground, thanks to Google’s Burj Khalifa Special Collect.
The ambitious project mapped a 360-degree street panorama of the world’s tallest building, marking the first time that Google technology has been deployed in the Arab World.
The partnership between the tech mega firm and Emaar Properties, the Gulf’s largest land and real estate developer, allows Google Maps’ one billion users unprecedented access to Dubai’s – if not the world’s – most iconic landmark.
Street View images have been taken in more than 3,000 cities across 50 countries since 2007. The Burj Khalifa – the first skyscraper to join a Street View collection – will now be among the world’s most famous landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben, in France and the UK respectively, as well as natural wonders, such as the Grand Canyon in the US, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Antarctica and the Swiss Alps.
“We are so proud that Google has selected Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa for its first skyscraper – the images are breathtaking and the Burj Khalifa is a beaming example of the vision and achievements of this nation,” said Mohammad Gawdat, Google’s VP for the MENA region.
A street car aimed higher
Since Google’s infamous camera-wielding car was not suitable to capture images of the Burj Khalifa, Google employed a ‘trekker’ device, something which had never been used before at high altitude. The camera was also attached to suspended building maintenance units.
Of the building’s 163 storeys, nine have been mapped and are now live on Street View. The lowest is one floor below ground and the highest is the 154th floor. The ‘At The Top’ observation deck on floor 124 was also included, which normally costs visitors $27 to access.
The capture also allows users to see the high-speed elevators, Sky Lobbies, Corporate Suites, and meeting room facilities, as well as other dramatic vertical views.
Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar, added: “The Burj Khalifa is the pride of the United Arab Emirates, and a true icon that underlines the strength of global collaborations to create new benchmarks in engineering, architecture and urban planning. Setting the course for Google’s Street View collections in the Arab world and being the first skyscraper to be featured, is indeed a true honour.”
Top of the world
Aside from being the first skyscraper documented in Street View and the first location captured in the Arab World, the Burj Khalifa boasts an impressive collection of world records.
• Tallest building in the world – surpassing Taipei 101 in Taiwan, which stands at 508 metres (1,667ft)
• Tallest man-made structure in the world – surpassing the KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota, US
• Tallest free-standing structure in the world – breaking the 31-year record of CN Tower, US
• Most storeys in the world – more than 160
• Highest occupied floor in the world – Level 160
• Highest outdoor observation deck in the world – Level 124
• World record for vertical concrete pumping – more than 600 metres
• Tallest service elevator in the world – 504 metres (1,654ft)
• World record for the highest installation of an aluminium and glass façade
• World’s highest swimming pool on Level 76 (more than 260 metres; over 853ft)
The world’s tallest building can now be viewed at www.google.ae/streetview.