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Curaçao on the Map: introducing Google Street View and My Business

WILLEMSTAD – On Thursday October 5th, 2017, Prime Minister Mr. Eugene Rhuggenaath together with the minister of Economic Development Dr. Steven Martina, the minister of Traffic, Transport, Urban Planning and Development Mrs. Zita Jesus-Leito and partners Dolfijn FM, Curaçao Tourist Board, CHATA, Bureau Telecommunicatie & Post, UTS and Profound Projects launched the Google project ‘Curaçao on The Map’.

‘Curaçao On The Map’ was initiated by radio DJ Joris Reer, host of ‘Wakkere Joris’ at Dolfijn FM back in 2016 in cooperation with then Minister of Economic Development Eugene Rhuggenaath, CTB and CHATA where a video was created to persuade Google to put Curaçao on the Map. In response to this video, Google’s interest was sparked which led to an initial meeting on the beach where this project was kick started.

‘Curaçao on The Map’ fits in Curacao’s long term strategy to expand the tourism sector on the island and attract more tourists from all over the world to visit us.

With this video the island of Curaçao was able to make a strong case for itself and is now the first island in the Caribbean to be mapped for Google independently. Google has equipped the island with a special camera which will be used over the next three months to capture imagery for Google Street View. There are 15 lenses at the top of the Street View Trekker mast, each pointed in a different direction that enables us to create a 360-degree panoramic view. It will be mounted on top of a pickup truck sponsored by Dolfijn FM, and will drive the streets of Curaçao, including all the tourists spots and other interesting places and conglomerates in Curaçao. This past Thursday Prime Minister Rhuggenaath had the honor to conduct Curaçao’s first Google Street View collect, driving the pickup truck around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Handelskade in Punda.

Source: Dolfijn FM (Left to right: minister of Traffic, Transport, Urban Planning and Development Mrs. Zita Jesus-Leito, Prime Minister Mr. Eugene Rhuggenaath, radio DJ Joris Reer, host of ‘Wakkere Joris’ at Dolfijn FM, minister of Economic Development Dr. Steven Martina)

The Ministry of Economic Development and the Curaçao Tourist Board have taken the lead in completing all legal contracts and other paperwork necessary to structure a project of this magnitude. The Ministry of Traffic, Transport, Urban Planning and Development and subsidiary Bureau Telecommunicatie & Post are responsible for the integrity and reliability of the underlying infrastructure enabling all digital economy developments.

UTS’ contribution includes sponsorship of mobile devices for the Google Trusted Verification process and Profound Projects as official Google Cloud partner in Curaçao, took part in creating the online experience for locals to register their business online.

The documentation will take some effort and is of great importance. Each camera takes a picture every 2.5 seconds. We expect the collection to take approximately 35 days. After finishing collecting imagery of the island the imagery will be sent back to Google to be processed before they are published online for everyone to enjoy. The community of Curaçao is protected by privacy laws and similar to other countries, individuals, license plates and some visuals will not be recognizable for privacy matter, but our beautiful sightings and beaches and streets will be.

In addition to shooting Street View, the island of Curaçao will also be working on several other Google applications including: Google My Business, Google Expeditions and Google Trips. Upon completion of this project, it is expected to have over 80% of local businesses registered on Google My Business. Local businesses are invited to register at www.curacaoonthemap.com to appear on Google My Business. Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business. The current project will facilitate business owners to officially verify your establishment to set companies up. During the coming weeks more information will be given through the media, printed materials as well as online.

‘Curaçao on The Map’ fits in Curacao’s long term strategy to expand the tourism sector on the island and attract more tourists from all over the world to visit us. It will also have tremendous benefits for the local population as it contributes to a ‘smarter’, more digital island in accordance with the goals of Cabinet Rhuggenaath and as stipulated in the government program ‘Realizing Curaçao’s Maximum Potential’. ‘Curaçao on The Map’ will mean more efficiency when searching for local businesses to support or locations of interest to visit, which also results in a positive economic impact on our local businesses.

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