Friday, November 30, 2018

Google's Global Street-View Trekkers and High-Tech Cameras

This morning, I was on Google Maps to locate an office that I had to go to for a job-related task. I used the street-view option and in the reflection of office glass I saw a Google street-view trekker. For those of you who don't know, for many years Google has used both vehicle-mounted cameras and pedestrian-carried cameras to expand the views available through the Google Maps platform. Here is what I saw this morning:

Wondering how you can be like the guy in this photo? Well, if you like hiking and photographing exciting places around the globe, Google has a proposition for you: You can sign-up to borrow one of the company's Trekkers -- special camera-equipped backpacks that act as a personalized version of Google's Street View cars. It allows the wearer to automatically capture a 360-degree view of their surrounds as they move. Google previously only let select employees and a few third-party organizations take the Trekkers out to scenic places, including the Grand Canyon and the Canadian Arctic. However, the company is giving any third-party organization the chance to apply online to use the Trekker backpacks.

Please note that Google isn't about to hand out its Trekker backpacks to just anyone. The company describes some specific qualifications in its online application for the Trekker program. You may want to view Google's upbeat video ad promoting the Trekker loaner program.

The Trekker backpacks have been used at various street and trail locations -- including the Arlington National Cemetery. Its even been strapped to the back of a camel to capture the Arabian Desert. Want to know when the next Google Street View car or Trekker is coming to your neighborhood? Click here to find out!

This technology has come a long way since I ran across America in 2006. Back then, it was in its infancy and the street-view option didn't even come into existence until the year after I completed my coast-to-coast run. Now, you can virtually visit locations via Google Maps technology before you actually get there!

I must admit... I'm glad I ran across America before this technology was available. I couldn't "see ahead" on my route by looking at street-view images on my phone. That made my 15-state run more of an adventure. Also, I'm glad that the area where my home is located hasn't had any Google cars or Trekkers go by. I'm in the shrinking minority of homeowners who haven't had their residence captured by Google's street view cameras. I'm sure someday I'll see a Google car or Trekker go past my mailbox.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso