The end of the Paddle for Nature campaign by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and Google came to an end in Langkawi earlier today. The project, which began six months ago, charted the coast of Peninsula Malaysia using Google Street View technology. In addition to taking pictures for Street View, it will also serve as additional information for Malaysia’s conservation efforts.
Kayaker Che Zahiruddin Che Othman set off from Pengkalan Kubor, Kelantan in September 2014, and covered some 2,000 kilometres of Malaysian coastline. In addition to capturing Street View images, the project also documented the state of the coast and mangrove forests for the Forestry Department.
The coast was documented by attaching the Google Street View camera to the back of a kayak and paddling along the coastline. In addition to the coasts, Kukup island in Pontian and parts of Penang island were also charted. The Paddle for Nature kayak also made its way around several islands near Langkawi, which served as the final stop for the project.
This will cumulate is 208 days of reports on the state of the mangrove forests which will be submitted to the Foresty Department. The goal is to assist the department in its conservation efforts, especially concerning the state of the mangrove swamps which cover portions of the Malaysian coast and serve as important habitats and breeding grounds for marine life. Paddle for Nature has also documented several new beaches and coastal areas that have been untouched by mankind.
The Google kayak is also the first of its kind in the world, with the Malaysian Googlers meeting the engineering challenge of putting the Street View camera on the back of a seafaring vehicle. As a result of this, the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California used the design to take coastal images of the San Francisco bay area.
Google’s attempts to capture the entire planet on Street View have taken it to many places, and it has deployed many different modes of transporting the camera across the globe. Aside from the highly visible Street View cars, the company has the now iconic camera fitted to trikes, hand pushed trollies, and even a man-carried backpack. Malaysian Googlers had also jury-rigged a version of the Street View camera to a motorcycle when taking images of Pangkor Island. Another mode of Street View transportation not seen in any other country.
MNS has also used Paddle for Nature to raise funds for conservation efforts, and will continue with new editions of the campaign in the future. Although it will not be on the same scale. The images captured during Paddle of Nature will be appearing on Street View within a couple of months. Although Google itself has not provided a timeline for when it will be uploaded.