Eurostar and Google launch pioneering interactive display system “Explore Europe”

1 May 2008

--Fly over and through some of Europe's finest destinations--Travel through St Pancras International and enjoy a bird's eye view of Europe – with unique mapping technology
Eurostar, the international high-speed train operator between the UK and mainland Europe, and internet search provider Google today (1 May) unveiled a unique new display at St Pancras International that enables travellers to explore Europe in a visually stunning way.
"Explore Europe" combines the advanced mapping technology of Google Earth ™, the world's most popular online mapping tool, with a series of specially customised 'fly-through' views of Eurostar's key destinations.
It allows travellers to select a high-level, bird's eye view of anywhere in Europe, and then to swoop down and fly in 3D through the centres of London, Brussels, Paris, Disneyland Paris, Lille, Avignon and Bourg St Maurice. Travellers can hover over famous landmarks, follow high-speed rail routes, head for the mountains, or even search for their own homes.
The departure lounge at St Pancras International is equipped with two large displays with plasma and LCD screens and bespoke touch-screen technology. Designed for Eurostar by Land Design Studio and software developer Studio Simple, the kiosks provide interactive exploration that is free of charge.
Simon Montague, Director of Communications, Eurostar, said: "This system enables our travellers to discover new places before they depart, that they can then reach and explore by using high-speed rail.
"We want our travellers to use the departure lounge within St Pancras International as a space that also stimulates, educates and engages them. "Explore Europe" complements beautifully the interactive digital art gallery "Station Masters" that we have also just launched – another world-first for people curious to explore the cities and cultures around them."
Sarah McDonald, Travel Industry Manager, Google, said: "We are delighted to be partnering with Eurostar in such a stunning station environment. Today's huge number of internet visitors to Google Earth and Maps shows that people want to explore their travel destinations before they get there, and what better way to do so than with "Explore Europe. Using satellite imagery from a wide range of sources including NASA, "Explore Europe" blends bird's eye views seamlessly with the specially designed 'fly-through' facility."
Eurostar is seeing a substantial growth in demand since moving to St Pancras International last November. It has reported a 21.3% growth in traveller numbers for the first quarter of 2008, with even greater rises in areas outside South East England thanks to the introduction of through fares from regional towns and cities, and better connections between St Pancras International and domestic rail services.
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About Google Inc.Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com.
Google Earth is a registered trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.
About Land Design Studio / Studio Simple:BAFTA award winning Land Design Studio have worked with Studio Simple for many years integrating interactive communication media into architectural space. Working with Eurostar at St Pancras International has provided the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the powerful and innovative impact that this approach can bring to a transportation experience. Presently Land are working with Christies London on The British Music Experience, a permanent exhibition at the O2, and on a new museum for The Mary Rose, Henry VIII's 16th century battleship.
About Eurostar1. Eurostar is the high-speed passenger train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.2. Ebbsfleet International lies close to Bluewater shopping centre, just a few minutes' drive from junction 2 of the M25 near the Dartford crossing in north Kent. It is at the heart of a catchment of 10 million people across South East England, and offers seven trains a day to Paris and five a day to Brussels 3. Ashford International has three services a day to Paris, a daily service to Disneyland Resort Paris and seasonal weekly services to the French Alps and Avignon.4. Eurostar is the world's first train operator to have made all journeys carbon neutral, at no extra cost to travellers. Under its Tread Lightly initiative, it has set a target of reducing CO2 emissions by 25% per traveller journey by 2012. Independent research has shown that a Eurostar journey between London and Paris/Brussels generates one-tenth of the carbon dioxide produced by an equivalent flight.5. Eurostar and Friends of the Earth are partners in the UK and are working together on Eurostar's Tread Lightly initiative and The Big Ask, Friends of the Earth's climate change campaign.6. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe's leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.7. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates a vehicle shuttle service and the Channel tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's biggest customer.8. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com, call 08705 186 186 or contact your travel agent.
For more information, images and video:Eurostar Press Office+44 (0)20 7843 5500press.office@eurostar.co.uk