I grew up in the West Kootenay, a unique region of Canada where both French and Russian are taught in the public school system as second languages of instruction thanks to the tens of thousands of people who descend from the thousands of Russian Doukhobors who arrived in the region between 1908 and 1912. I took both, ultimately sticking with Russian all the way through my undergraduate degree (meanwhile, one of my Russian cousins became a French teacher. Go figure).
While my Russian has pretty much faded away from lack of use in the many years since then, I’m still handy enough that I can at least read Russian-language maps or use Russian search engines, which is why I often employ the Russian-language search engine Yandex; in particular, its online mapping service. While its coverage of non-Eurasian locations leaves much to be desired, its coverage of the area of the former Soviet Union is top-notch. Of particular interest are the 150 cities covered by Yandex’s panoramic street imagery: not just Russian cities but also major cities in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and even Istanbul, Turkey. With the exception of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, this is imagery you can’t get on Google Street View as of yet. This inspired the latest two-part article at Google Sightseeing, in which we look at various street-level imagery providers that have made it to places Google has not (Part I is here; Part II will be here within a week of this post). Hopefully this will expose some different imagery service providers to a wider audience: the articles displays street-level imagery in such places as historic Erbil, Iraq; the beaches of Phuket, Thailand; the Danube Delta of Romania; and a relatively small Turkish mountain village, among many.
This article almost seems cursed in a way; just in the week since the new GSS article went to post, street-level imagery for parts of Poland, Thailand, and even the Amazon River went online (competitor imagery for Poland and Thailand were featured in the GSS articles). Officially on the docket to be added to the Street View roster in coming months are Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Gibraltar, Greece, India, Israel, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Slovakia. Street View cars have also been reported in Alderney(!), Andorra, Argentina, Botswana, Estonia, Guernsey, Hungary, Malaysia, Pakistan, Slovenia, and Ukraine.