Google Sightseeing 2011 Wrap-up

Thursday, 5th January 2012 by

Happy New Year! The festive break is over, and we're all back to work - but there's still time to pause for a look back at Google Sightseeing in 2011.

Over the course of the year we published 104 new articles, which takes us up to 1,984 total posts. This means we should hopefully pass 2,000 published posts before the site's seventh anniversary in April of this year.

But back to the highlights of 2011, a year which saw our sixth annual Volcano Week, where we even went off-planet to see the largest volcano in our solar system: Olympus Mons.

We also held our fourth Desert Week, one highlight of which was The Salton Sea, the largest body of water in California and neither a desert nor a sea…

For the rest of this year's articles, I've analysed the analytics, and can now present the top ten posts of 2011 (as voted for by the unique visitors to each post - that's you lot).

10. One of my personal favourite posts from the year, the Quirky Border Towns of North America taught us that it's possible to read a book in two countries at once.

9. In November we visited a town built by the Disney corporation: Celebration. The town is full of fun architecture, but we were disappointed to find the "fake weather" machines weren't pumping out unseasonal snow when Street View drove through.

8. In July, China opened what they claimed to be the "World's Largest Cross-sea Bridge", and an anthropomorphised Lake Pontchartrain Causeway took offense. Meanwhile, there was still no contest for the title of World's Largest Graffiti.

7: Proving that all art is subjective, our collection of Vehicular art from December contained some brilliant, and some truly rubbish attempts at creating artworks from everyday vehicles. For my money, it's the simple "giant rock crushing a car" that stands out as the greatest artwork here.

6. After Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in May of 2011, the news was filled with stories and images of his not-at-all-hidden secret compound, which was soon discovered on Google Earth's satellite imagery. Thanks to the historical imagery in Google Earth we were also able to see how it looked in the past.

5. Our irregular series of abandoned places continued in June with the Ghost Towns of the Palliser Triangle, featuring numerous fascinating little places in the Canadian Prairies that have been left to decay.

4. In April, North Korea Uncovered highlighted some of the most interesting finds from an exhaustive project to document the buildings and structures seen in the highly-secretive country.

3. This year, Google's Street View service has again continued to expand into further reaches of the globe, and allowed us to live up to our "Why Bother Seeing the World for Real?" strapline - in February we took an awe-inspiring tour of some incredible scenery seen on Street View's Most Breathtaking Rides, and nobody spent a penny on petrol.

2. In May, we discovered an actual alien spaceship on Street View. Yes, there were doubters, but nobody managed to come up with a suitable explanation for this completely Unidentified Flying Bird.

1. With well over 18,000 unique readers, the far-and-away most popular post of 2011 is perhaps a little easy to predict, as it mentioned both "nude" and "naked" in the title! Fortunately however, instead of something filthy, those 18,000 people were presented with a brilliant and insightful article that explored, um … places with, er … really smutty names (which is we suppose, one of our favourite subjects).

Many thanks to all our readers from the entire Google Sightseeing team: Alex Turnbull, James Turnbull, Noel Ballantyne, Kyle Kusch, Chris Hannigan, Ian Brown and Matt Bucher, as well as guest writers Tom Howder and David Nicol.

Of course, we'll be doing it all over again in 2012, so make sure you keep reading for the very best in Google Maps, Street View and Google Earth sightseeing, and if you don't already you should like, totally follow us on twitter too.