July 20, 2015

Trekker's Recent Google Maps Photos Will Blow Your Mind

A Google Maps Trekker partner takes photos of the Grand Canyon.

By Justin H.

Google Maps is obviously the premier mapping service in the world. Whether we need to turn-by-turn directions, a traffic update, or simply want to know the best route to take anywhere, we head straight for Google Maps. However, what happens when we want to go somewhere that Google Maps can’t access?

That’s where Google Trekker comes in. The Trekker Loan Program is one of Google’s most recent and enthralling endeavors. The program recently turned two years old, and is designed to invite partners such as tourism boards, non-profits, universities, research organizations, or other third party organizations help Google take Street View photos of all the world’s most jaw-dropping places. You can even apply right here to be a part of the program!

As you can see in the photo above, Trekker is a large backpack system that allows users to add imagery to Google Maps that is only accessible by foot. The camera itself is equipped with 15 lenses to ensure flawless 360-degree views. The inaugural venture was the Grand Canyon, which was the perfect location to showcase the new project.

Trekker has hit everything from old Viking ruins in Greenland, to whipping down a zipline in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil, to the Dolomites, and much more. But, what has Trekker been up to lately?

Here are the three most notable places that Trekker has visited lately. This list will make you want to pack your bags right now and head on out for an adventure!

California State Parks

A gorgeous shot of a California State Park near a beach and mountains.  

Trekker cameras recently collected imagery from 90 state parks and beaches all across the beautiful state of California. The project has been part of a partnership between Google and State Parks to finally show off California’s beauty on a virtual platform.

“Whether you’re a kid learning about the world beyond your neighborhood or a tourist looking for a place to take your next trip, California has everything you need to explore the natural world,” said Street View Program Manager Deanna Yick. “We hope this imagery inspires people to visit these amazing places in person.”

Australia’s Northern Territory

A Google Maps Trekker takes photos of the Northern Territory of Australia.

Last week, Google partnered with the Northern Territory (NT) government to bring about these unbelievable photos. Unfortunately, the photos will not be published on Google Maps until 2016, but you can sift through some of the scenery here via Mashable.

Tourism NT employee Chris Frankenfield detailed some of the unexpected difficulties of using Trekker.

“The hardest part was traversing steep terrain such as Gunlom Falls and Wangi as the Google Trekker should be kept upright at all times,” Frankenfield said. “Some of the step ups were tricky and you have to keep in mind not to get yourself in the frame, such as when reaching out to grab hold of a tree.”

Denver Botanic Gardens

Courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens, a photo of a Google Maps Trekker partner taking photos in the Denver Botanic Gardens

Visit Denver is the newest group to obtain the Trekker equipment, and they have been taking some exceptional photos over the past few weeks. Denver is one of the most picturesque cities in the U.S., and the folks at Visit Denver are determined to show the world just how beautiful it is by touring Washington Park, Red Rocks, and the Botanic Gardens in Littleton.

Look for these Denver locations to make it onto Google Maps in about four to six months. The ultimate goal is obviously to make the city a part of Google Maps’ Treks program. People who don’t live in Denver can finally see just how incredible it is.

These people have the life, huh? These heavy Trekker backpacks might not be the most ideal pieces of equipment to lug around, but you can't complain when you get to visit some of these places. Who's ready for a vacation?

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve visited? Where would you like to see Google Trekker head next? Let us know in the comment section below!

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