Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia’s streets go digital

Cambodia’s streets go digital

Google Street View’s vantage of Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace from Sisowath Quay
Google Street View’s vantage of Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace from Sisowath Quay. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Cambodia’s streets go digital

The imposing facade of Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace, Mondulkiri’s towering Bou Sra waterfall and sweeping vistas from a pagoda atop Bokor Mountain can now be explored from all angles online.

Building on its digitisation in April of the Angkor temples, tech giant Google today is to launch Street View imagery of Phnom Penh and more than 10 provinces, allowing users to essentially walk around Cambodia on the internet using Google Maps.

The imagery has been collected over the past year by cars equipped with panoramic camera gear and by individuals wearing specialised camera-mounted backpacks.

While internet penetration is growing in the Kingdom – with close to four million users as of last year – Google expects Street View will “help create better awareness of this country and attract more tourism”, according to a statement.

The Tourism Ministry, which supported the project, could not be reached, but Phnom Penh Tourism Department director Tang Sochet Krishna said he believed the imagery would be useful to both Cambodians and foreigners.

“But some of our people who live in remote or rural areas cannot use it,” he added.

Street View has raised the heckles of privacy advocates in many countries as its cameras have often caught people in compromising situations, but Krishna dismissed such concerns.

“I do not think it is a big problem, but it depends on how it is managed. It is not important for us to be interested in such useless things such as arguments [captured] along the street or other individual issues,” he said.

According to Google, Street View blurs faces and other identifying characteristics such as licence plates. The company says it is also “extremely responsive” to requests from individuals for further blurring of images.

Restaurateur and Cambodia Hotel Association president Luu Meng said he believed that if a “certain level” of privacy was ensured, hotel and restaurant owners would welcome the new technology.

“It’s a great thing for the consumer,” he said, adding that businesses could adapt new marketing strategies in line with the technology.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MOM KUNTHEAR

MOST VIEWED

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National