National

Google Maps users stopped from virtually walking on sacred indigenous Australian landmark

Sep 24, 2020

Canberra (Australia), September 24: Parks Australia has asked Google to remove images of Uluru that allow users to virtually climb the sacred indigenous site.
Parks Australia in 2019 banned visitors from climbing Uluru out of respect for its cultural significance to the traditional owners of the land, the Anangu people.
It has now gone one step further by asking Google Maps to remove 360-degree images of the summit of the rock, which allowed users to take a virtual walking tour of the site and defy the visitors' ban.
A spokesperson for Parks Australia told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) recently that it had "alerted Google Australia to the user-generated images from the Uluru summit that have been posted on their mapping platform."
They had "requested that the content be immediately removed in accordance with the wishes of Anangu, Uluru's traditional owners, and the national park's Film and Photography Guidelines."
Google Australia said it had received the request and was working to remove the images.
"We understand Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is deeply sacred to the Anangu people," a spokesperson told the ABC.
"As soon as Parks Australia raised their concerns about this user contribution, we removed the imagery."
The decision to close the Uluru climb in 2019 came after years of calls to do so from indigenous Australians.
Tjiangu Thomas, a local Anangu ranger, said at the time of the closure that it was a landmark moment for indigenous Australians.
"It's rather emotional, having elders who picked up this long journey before I was born, to close the climb, and now they are no longer here but we are carrying on their legacy," he said.
Source: Xinhua News Agency