Why has Google added the Grand Canyon to Street View?

StreetViewGrandCanyon-1-630Jeremy Miller at Harper's Magazine:

Google’s declared mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” a statement that casts the planet as a vast and undifferentiated stream of data, awaiting processors and algorithms powerful enough to transform and order it for human use. And so, in the spirit of the mile-to-mile scale map of Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno, the company has captured the canyon with tremendous accuracy, allowing anyone with a computer and a decent Internet connection to “cover the whole country.”

To better understand how — and more importantly, why — this capturing has been carried out, I arranged a meeting with Karin Tuxen-Bettman, a “geo data strategist” and the project lead for Google’s Grand Canyon mapping effort. Before setting out from my home in the East Bay, I typed my destination into my smartphone. Then I somnambulantly followed its commands southward, across Dumbarton Bridge and into the labyrinth of identical office buildings that comprises Google’s sprawling Mountain View complex.

After I’d parked and wandered aimlessly for a few minutes, Google spokesperson Susan Cadrecha called out my name from across the lot.

“I’m usually pretty good with maps,” I said sheepishly.

“It’s okay,” she replied. “Everything sort of looks the same around here.”

more here.