Google Street View Capturing Arlington National Cemetery, Swaziland

The emotional power of thousands of military graves is being captured at Arlington, as are the first Street View images from Africa's Swaziland.

Google's Street View image collection project is always finding new fascinating and unique destinations to capture and present online for viewers around the globe. Right now Street View crews are in the field at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and have recently completed collecting images in the countryside of Swaziland in Africa to add to the company's growing collection.

The Arlington National Cemetery project began Oct. 20, according to a Google spokesperson, with a Google photographer walking through the honored cemetery area by area, equipped with one of the special panoramic Google Trekker cameras mounted on a backpack.

"We'll be using one Trekker backpack plus Street View cars on this project," the spokesperson told eWEEK. Once captured, the images will take a fair amount of time to be processed digitally and stitched together into panoramic images so they can be viewed through Google Street View and Google Maps.

After the photo-stitching process, Google technicians will then applying the company's face blurring technology that helps make sure that passers-by and license plates in the photographs can't be identified, according to the spokesperson.

The project is slated for completion by May 2014, just before Arlington National Cemetery will commemorate its 150th anniversary. Literally millions of photographs are being collected.

Asked how the idea was chosen for the project, the spokesperson said that Google is "constantly looking for new ways to bring Street View to places that our users are very interested in to make Street View as useful as possible to our Maps users."

Online visitors will eventually be able to zoom in on the images from Arlington so that many of the individual grave markers will be readable, according to a story in The Washington Post. "Cemetery officials hope the project will draw greater attention to one of the nation's most-visited destinations, particularly the areas of the cemetery that are often overlooked," The Post reported.

"This is a tool to explore the cemetery from your home," Jennifer Lynch, a spokeswoman for the cemetery, told The Post. "It's not the same as being here, of course, but for so many who can't afford or are physically incapable of visiting, this is a great tool to get a feel for Arlington and explore its rich history."

Online photo access is already available of the cemetery's approximately 400,000 burial sites through the cemetery's Web page and "Find a Gravesite" search capabilities.

Meanwhile, Street View cameras are also under way capturing images of the African nation of Swaziland, which will make it the fourth African nation to be featured in Street View, according to Google.