Google Maps: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial

Known as the “Atomic Bomb Dome,” the Memorial bears witness to the devastation of nuclear war. The once proud pre-war structure nearly destroyed by the bomb still stands unrestored — a monument to those lost and a powerful symbol of peace.

Google went one step further, making new imagery of the interior of the Memorial available via its Place page. While millions have visited the Memorial, you can only safely view it from the outside, standing behind a fence, because of the extent of the damage.

However iconic the Dome may be, it’s difficult to comprehend the magnitude and scope of the devastation from the outside of the building. But with the support of the Hiroshima city government, we gathered hi-resolution imagery that actually enables you to “walk” through the building room by room, using the same technology we’ve used to photograph other historic monuments around the world. The difference here is that while you can wander the gardens of Versailles or streets of Rome in person, the only way you can access the interior of the structure is digitally.


We launched this imagery in Japan on August 5th, one day before the 66th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. You can access this collection via the Memorial’s Place page, or start exploring via this link. As with all of our special collections, we hope this imagery helps people around the world virtually travel to places they’d never otherwise have a chance to see.

Overlays of Japan from the New York Times

We mentioned a great map from Hidenori Watanave that showed various information from Japan including flooding regions, power plant locations and other items.

They’ve just released a new map, and I think it’s even more impressive! They’re calling it the Photo-Overlays of “The Aftermath in Japan” from New York Times, which places 30 different images from the New York Times as photo overlays in Google Earth. The photos were selected from this feature on the NYT, “The Big Picture” at, Oregon Live, and more are being added all the time. However, as you can see in the image below, they’ve taken their time to line up the photos very carefully and the result is quite immersive:


It also has a series of tools at the top of the screen to allow you to view some of the GeoEye imagery, turn on/off 3D buildings, view imagery from different dates, and to simply fly back out to the overview (quite useful while viewing an image).

While this is a fairly simple map to use, it’s been well-polished and is a great way to view the photos from this disaster.

Also of note is a new map from SigActs that shows before and after imagery in Sendai. The interface is quite similar to the one from AnotherEarth that we showed you a few weeks ago, but this has been updated to show some great before/after shots.


Browsing around in there really shows the devastation and how much has changed in the area since the disaster struck.