This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
A divine insight into church
Internet users around the world can now tour Leicester Cathedral's Gothic interior with the simple click of a mouse.
The historic building is one of the first cathedrals to be featured on Google Maps and visitors to the website can see most of the church's grade II*-listed stonework, alter and vibrant stained glass windows, as well as neighbouring St Martin's House.
Web users can even stand on the cathedral's altar for a vicar's-eye-view of the pews, and explore the building's numerous vestibules.
The panoramic images on Google Maps were taken by Leicestershire photographer Chris Jones.
Chris, who captures many photographs of Leicestershire for Google, said: "I think it's a really interesting building to document – especially with the Richard III connection."
He could take images from 30 specific points, or "steps", inside the church, and those are the points from which the Google Maps visitor can view the cathedral's interior.
Chris, who runs LeicesterPhoto Design, in Littlethorpe, used a digital camera with a panoramic head, taking three shots every 90 degrees.
He then "stitched" the images together with software supplied by Google to give a realistic impression of the building's interior.
In August, he uploaded his first church to Google Maps when he visited St Mary de Castro, in Castle View, Leicester.
He said: "It's up to me what buildings I choose to include in the map and, at the minute, I'm concentrating on heritage sites.
"There's so much history in Leicester it's not hard to think of places which would be of interest to a great many people.
"I think this is a great way of opening up places of interest."
Chris has also added Launde Abbey to Google Maps, which goes live today, as well as churches in Bottesford and Lutterworth.
A spokeswoman for Leicester Cathedral said: "This is a fabulous way to publicise your church and to show those who are nervous about coming over the threshold what it looks like inside."
Stuart Bailey, chairman of Leicester Civic Society, said the new Leicester additions to Google Maps was "marvellous".
He said: "The more we can do to promote our city's heritage the better.
"If someone in Colorado can go on the internet and take a tour of Leicester Cathedral then that's fantastic – and if it encourages them to come to Leicester, that's even better."
To view the cathedral, visit Google Maps and click on the doors of the building.