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Monday, October 18, 2021

Street View lets virtual visitors walk through Qatar’s airport


Travelers who will be passing through Qatar’s Hamad International Airport for the first time can now take a virtual walk through the terminal ahead of their journey.

The Doha airport has become the first in the MENA region to join Google’s Street View, which gives a 360-degree online tour of four floors of the 600,000-square-meter facility.

Announced yesterday, HIA joins Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art and other landmarks in the region, including the Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, that allow virtual visitors to go on a panoramic tour without leaving their screens.

The airport can be explored using thousands of specially stitched-together images that were taken last summer using a backpack-mounted camera.

Find your way

It could be useful for those planning a journey through the airport for the first time to familiarize themselves with the layout, find particular shops or eateries and work out where amenities such as ATMs are located.

It may also help passengers at the airport more easily navigate their way through the facility.

Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport

The HIA link includes footage of the main concourse with the landmark Lamp Bear, shops and children’s play areas, as well as some of the corridors leading to boarding gates and a sneak-peek into some of the lounges.

It also takes travelers though an almost-empty immigration hall in arrivals.

HIA joins more than a dozen other airports around the world that have also joined up to Street View, including the UK’s Gatwick Airport, Osaka International Airport in Japan and the Aeropuerto Madrid Barajas.

In a statement issued by QNA yesterday announcing the launch, Ulf Spitzer, global lead for Google Street View, said the aim of the project was to include “amazing places around the world” for visitors to explore.

“From Urs Fischer’s teddy lamp bear sculpture to the Dreamliners that line the runway, millions around the world will now be able to inspect the Hamad International Airport, which they may be travelling to or through soon,” he added.

Last summer, Qatar’s then-Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning said it had signed an MOU with Google to bring Street View to the state.

At the time, no launch date for this was given. However, it said that Google would need to work with the ministry’s Center for GIS to obtain permission from authorities to survey the streets before producing the panoramic images.

You can access Street View of the airport here.

Would you use it? Thoughts?

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