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Hiking trail (Flickr: Richie Johns)

Google takes Street View to a new level

14th June 2012

Charting new territory, Google plans to map the world's hiking trails with 3D imagery

Google takes another step towards its mapping of the world with the launch of Street View Trekker. Not satisfied with documenting the views of our streets, Google is forging new territory with its plans to capture images of places cars can't reach.

Launched last week, the development involves strapping a cumbersome looking backpack holding a 15-lens camera to the back of a trekker. Google said: “We’re taking another step forward with our Street View Trekker. You’ve seen our cars, trikes, snowmobiles and trolleys – but wheels only get you so far. There’s a whole wilderness out there that is only accessible by foot. Trekker solves that problem by enabling us to photograph beautiful places such as the Grand Canyon so anyone can explore them. All the equipment fits in this one backpack, and we’ve already taken it out on the slopes.”

The Trekker is controlled by an Android smartphone plugged into the backpack but is essentially a smaller version of the kit carried by Street View cars. The gear has already been used by engineering director Luc Vincent, who took it on his ski trip to Tahoe. He said of the unwieldy pack: “It’s really not so bad. You’ve got to be a bit careful obviously, but, hey, it works.”

The company intends to map castles, ruins, hiking trails and the Grand Canyon in an effort to make a map of the world better than we have ever seen.

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