Yesterday the Lt. Governor of Louisiana, Mitch Landrieu, wrote up why Google Street View is so important to New Orleans and its recovery on the Google Blog.
In this time of recovery and rebuilding, it is important that we share real images of life in Louisiana and on the Gulf Coast. As you explore the streets of New Orleans, you will discover a city marked by extremes. You will see some areas spared the worst of Katrina’s fury which have quickly recovered, and you will find other neighborhoods that remain flattened by the floodwaters that broke the levees. You will see that our residents call both FEMA trailers and antebellum mansions home.
I’ve been lucky enough to be involved on a couple projects with the New Orleans Community Data Center (GNOCDC). Their idea is to bring “paper” and PDF maps to the internet so the community (both local and national). Together with Matt Priour (who has done some amazing work with the Google Maps API) we’ve been moving their data from their “classic” pre-Katrina mapping to a more interactive experience. The push is on this month to get more mapping online and the release of the Street View for NOLA should bring more opportunities to both tell the story of the recovery and help those who are living there gain access to city services.
I encourage everyone to download the The New Orleans Index Anniversary Edition: Three Years After Katrina available on the front page of the GNOCDC website. It will help put into perspective the recovery which is still going on 3 years after Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. As the Google Street View shows (look at the Lower Ninth Ward for perspective), New Orleans is still fighting hard.