Although Lockdown is effective in most parts of the world, Tour Guides can still make out using the Street View App on Google.
In an interview with Katie Wignall, Google revealed that despite the government restrictions due to COVID-19, the tour guide business of London is still moving on.
As Google reports, she has been unable to perform physical tours since March 24, when the lockdown was imposed by the UK Government.
“I’ve had to shut down, basically. I can’t go out; we’re not able to meet up in groups to deliver the normal tours. All of the work I had booked going into the summer—the busiest time—has just been cancelled or postponed. Literally overnight there was no work at all.”, she revealed when asked on how her business was imparted by the COVID 19 and the Lockdown.
Virtual tours as an alternative to physical tours implies that people do not need to visit the place, but access it online via maps and guides. Although the physical experience is not felt, it however offers the visual appeal.
Speaking to Google on how she got the idea of virtual tours:
“It was actually a suggestion from a follower on Instagram who asked, “Is there a way you could do virtual tours?” I started out by going out myself and having my husband film me on London streets, but then as the situation escalated, we weren’t allowed outside.
“So then I thought I’d experiment with Google Street View. If I couldn’t go outside, I could offer people the next best thing, through a screen. I was already using Street View a lot for my work—it’s really good for my research. I love the feature where you can go back in time. It’s not possible for every location, but for a lot of central London, you can select a place in Google Maps for desktop, drag the Street View pegman into the picture and click on the clock in the top left corner to explore imagery from the past. You can see where buildings have been demolished and what used to be standing where.So now, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2 PM London time, I use Street View to give a virtual tour on Instagram Live. And for anyone who can’t make that time, I post the recordings on my website. They’re all free, and if people enjoy them, they can make a donation.”
With the Coronavirus cases still augmenting, Tour guides that do not adapt to Katie‘s model of business would surely not get a lot to come by.
The feature is particularly impressive, in that you get to view images of various streets right from your smartphone.