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Google captures view from world's tallest building

By Arion McNicoll, for CNN
updated 2:06 AM EDT, Thu July 4, 2013
The incredible view from the 80th floor of the Burj Khalifa, captured by Google Street View. The incredible view from the 80th floor of the Burj Khalifa, captured by Google Street View.
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The view from above
On a level
The height of success
Faces in the crowd
From the ground up
Behind the scenes
Mission impossible
What's in a name?
Open for business
Going up
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Google captures world's tallest building Burj Khalifa with Street View
  • Users can see images from the basement up to the 163rd floor
  • It is the first time Street View has been used in the Middle East

(CNN) -- Fancy a stroll around the observation deck of the tallest building in the world?

Normally, doing so would involve a flight to Dubai, an expensive hotel room and a struggle through traffic under blazing sunshine. But now you can take it all in from the comfort of your own living room.

Google has launched a new project capturing a 360-degree view of the iconic Burj Khalifa in Dubai -- a building so enormous it is sometimes referred to as the "vertical city."

The images taken by Google allow users to navigate through the building, using Street View technology, which the company generally uses to map cities. Users can explore the structure from the opulent basement entrance hall to the highest occupied apartment in the world on the building's 163rd floor.

To compile the images, Google's photographers used state of the art equipment and battled 40 mph winds at the top of the building's spire, 828 meters (2,716 feet) above ground level.

The pictures will be the first time Street View has been used in the Middle East, and the first collection of images to feature a skyscraper.

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure in the world. Modeled on principles of classical Islamic architecture. The building took six years and more than 22 million man-hours to erect.

The edifice's massive foundations required over 58,900 cubic yards of concrete, weighing more than 110,000 tonnes. Close to 26,000 glass panels, each individually hand-cut, were used in the exterior cladding -- equivalent to 17 soccer fields of material.

Google's Street View technology had to be specially adapted to document buildings such as this. The 360 degree cameras are mounted on a backpack which can be carried by a single operator. Other landmarks and natural wonders like the Eiffel Tower and Grand Canyon have also been captured by the technology.

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