Come and see for yourself ...
December 13, 2011 1:09 AM   Subscribe

On Monday, Google released Memories for the Future, a website that allows you to "... walk the scarred coastline [after the Japanese tsunami] virtually". "... it is possible to see the full extent of the damage by finding an image in Street View and then clicking the “Before” and “After” links at the top to see how the earthquake and tsunami impacted that area." The Japan Real Time blog has a good introduction and writeup.
posted by woodblock100 (9 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I don't see (as yet) any way to link 'inside' to any particularly interesting locations, but if you simply zoom in, head for the coastline in the affected area, then drag the little yellow man onto the map, you should find your 'walk' worthwhile ...
posted by woodblock100 at 1:22 AM on December 13, 2011

I dropped pegman in about 6 locations and only 3 of them showed any damage, with one of them near the coast being pretty much total and a the two others with a missing building or two (one of them being in the Ishinomaki area the article mentioned). I was actually expecting the damage to be more drastic even further inland, but I may just be looking in the wrong places (6 drops out of all of this area is a pretty small sample). Just to be clear I'm not detracting or minimizing the tragedy at all, I just expected everything to be flattened in almost every direction as opposed to a couple buildings missing (which is still absolutely crazy).

Great stuff like is why Google has a good reputation despite all of the scary stuff about them.
posted by Defenestrator at 1:29 AM on December 13, 2011

Trying switch back and forth usually just gave me an error saying it didn't have data for the other view, then dropping me back to a fully zoomed-out map.
posted by delmoi at 1:47 AM on December 13, 2011

Trying switch back and forth usually just gave me an error saying it didn't have data for the other view, then dropping me back to a fully zoomed-out map.

Same here. I assume that it's a feature and that I just don't get it.

Also why are the old photos sepia blurry and the new ones sharp and bright? Gotta have a hundred year disaster before Google uses the camera with the clean lens?
posted by three blind mice at 2:05 AM on December 13, 2011

I was in Canada during the March tsunami and its aftermath, and watching it on tv and the internet was bad enough. I'm in Japan for a few months, a looong way away from the affected region, but about 50% of the news covers some aspect of the Tohoku disaster - it's massive in scale and scope, and media images don't begin to cover it.

Just the other night I watched a special on NHK that talked about how 1500 orphaned children are doing after the tsunami. Very poignant, sad and moving.

The town of Rikuzentakata seems especially hard hit - a town of 20,000 or so wiped right off the map.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:26 AM on December 13, 2011

Thanks for that. That's the absolute closest I've gotten to having a question answered. Since the tsunami, I've been wondering about how badly Kinkazan was hit. It's a small island off the tip of the Oshika Peninsula, and there's just about nothing on it other than a shrine (with a guest house) deer, deer paths, and the remains of an ill-thought out hotel from the bubble period. I went through Sendai several years ago on my way to that island, and with so much destruction, I never heard any news about it. The very last little bit of street view on the southern tip of the peninsula has a decent view of the island, which looks (as far as I can see from the street view camera) to be remarkably undamaged. I imagine the peninsula must have shielded it from the worst of things. I'd been wondering since March, so, well, thanks.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:26 AM on December 13, 2011

Use the search box and go to Minamisanriku, Miyagi. The whole town was pretty much destroyed by the tsunami.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:54 AM on December 13, 2011

This is amazing. I wish they'd done this for the towns that were practically destroyed in the 2009 bushfires here. I know the residents of Marysville, which lost 90% of its buildings and was a beautiful little town, asked that Street View not re-do their town so that there was some record of it left, but the request wasn't granted. There was a time when the satellite view was updated but Street View wasn't - so you could virtually walk around the town as it was, while seeing which buildings weren't there any more. Haunting.
posted by andraste at 11:42 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Be sure to click the "before" tab before dropping in the pegman again. Then hit "after + all area". Repeat. (sorry)
posted by Jikido at 8:16 PM on December 13, 2011

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