It seems that in recent times, Google Maps has been trying harder than ever to bring the outside in, to allow us to travel the world and see wondrous sights without ever leaving the comfort of our favourite computer chairs.
Not content with offering more detailed maps of ultimate grey nomad no-go zones like North Korea, the Google boffins are now actually trying to take us on bushwalks through the world’s great national parks. Say what? I can knock off the Alligator Creek Walk near Townsville without getting tired, without getting thirsty, and without worrying about snakes! Where do I sign up?
The plan is simple. Google has come up with a camera called the Trekker which is mounted on the backpack of a hiker who can then be dispatched into various beauty spots capturing stunning 360-degree images. Lucky (and lazy?) grey nomads and others can then sit back, pour themselves a glass of wine and take a less than arduous virtual bushwalk seeing all there is too be seen along the way.
Google has got the ball rolling by sending out a team of five Trekker-equipped hikers and 10 Google engineers on a three-day sojourn along the trails of Arizona’s fabled Grand Canyon. Each Trekker apparently uses 15 cameras connected to an Android device to capture full panoramic shots of the scenic views around the wearer. Together, more than 9,500 panoramas of this masterpiece of nature are now available on Google Maps.
Google Maps accessories manager, Ryan Falor, says the interactive images cover more than 120 kilometres of awe-inspiring trails.
Wow! Sounds great, Ryan! So, when are you going to add some Aussie bushwalks?
Well, happily Google says it plans to capture many more walking trail-only environments in the future. Watch this space!