The Street View feature of Google Maps has been an incredibly useful and interesting innovation. While actual traveling and experience is best, it's not always possible to go everywhere you'd like to see; money, time and other practical concerns often get in the way. Now, with Street View, we all have the ability to explore far-flung locales from our own homes. We can virtually stroll down the broad Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, see the sights of the Las Vegas Strip or scope out the spot where the Beatles famously stood on London's Abbey Road. But that's not all ... now we can scale down with Google Map's first ever #MiniView.
Welcome to Miniatur Wunderland, an extensive model train and city system and Hamburg's most popular tourist attraction.
The site houses the world's longest toy train system, including over eight miles of track, a thousand trains, 335,000 lights and 200,000 figures, taking up about 14,000 square feet.
The miniature model world includes recreations of many famous cities, drawing inspiration from other parts of Germany, the United States of America, Scandinavia and more.
Although the attraction is home to the world's longest toy train track, it also includes cars, scooters and bikes on the tiny roads, which are lined by impressively detailed buildings and lifelike scenes.
The specially-designed Google Maps mobile cameras have cruised along every street in the whole setup, capturing images just like it would on streets in any city.
Miniatur Wunderland even boasts a fully-functioning airport ... and it looks like traffic is just as bad as at a full-size airport! Hopefully, the model citizens all make it through security and to their gates in time for their flights.
Such a miniature project for a miniature wonderland meant the development of special equipment, built just for this special Street View.
To make the perfect camera, Google Maps worked with Ubilabs, a company that creates interactive map apps and has an office in Hamburg, as well as the popular tech city of San Francisco.
The purpose-built cameras have rolled down the rail tracks and been affixed to cars, traveling down the roads to capture all the nooks and crannies of Miniatur Wunderland.
In honor of the historic collaboration between Google Maps and Miniatur Wunderland, a new permanent and stationary car can now be seen in the mix. A replica of the more traditional method used to capture Street View images has made its home in the model world.
Here's the tiny photographic model capturing a traditionally rowdy Oktoberfest celebration, complete with a parade of musicians and revelers through the streets of an idyllically tiny Bavarian village.
Take a closer look at the whole project in action in the video below, which details the epic project. All in all, the undertaking went on for about two months and took 600 hours of work to complete. When you see all that went into it and the sheer magnitude of the setup, it's easy to understand why it was such a time-consuming project.
Click here to explore Miniatur Wunderland for yourself on Google Maps.
Via: Google Maps