Friday, February 1, 2013

Exploring the Grand Canyon on Google Maps

Back in October, Google Maps took the Street View Trekker (its newest camera platform) to the Grand Canyon for its inaugural collection of 360 degree imagery. This is one of the latest projects Google has worked on to further its goal of providing people with the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world.

The imagery has now been processed, stitched together, and turned into panoramics that are available on Google Maps. The collection includes more than 9,500 panoramas from trails along the Grand Canyon south rim and nearby Meteor Crater.
Now anyone around the world -- from armchair explorers to real-life travelers -- can virtually explore this historical and breathtaking place that has only been accessible on foot. Check out the imagery and see for yourself!

Take a trip to the Grand Canyon...right now! As of today, you can now view the breathtaking wonders of the Grand Canyon on Google Maps with Street View, brought to you by the first ever Street View Trekker expedition

Whether you’re planning an upcoming hike, or want to learn more about the Earth’s geological history, Google Maps can help. Today, we’re releasing panoramic imagery of one of the world’s most spectacular and remote natural wonders: the Grand Canyon. These beautiful, interactive images cover more than 75 miles of trails and surrounding roads, making our map of this area even more comprehensive, accurate and easy to use than ever before.

Take a walk down the narrow trails and exposed paths of the Grand Canyon: hike down the famous Bright Angel Trail, gaze out at the mighty Colorado River, and explore scenic overlooks in full 360-degrees. You’ll be happy you’re virtually hiking once you get to the steep inclines of the South Kaibab Trail. And rather than drive a couple hours to see the nearby Meteor Crater, a click of your mouse or tap of your finger will transport you to the rim of this otherworldly site.

This breathtaking imagery collection was made possible with the Trekker. Our team strapped on the Android-operated 18-kilogram backpacks carrying the 15-lens camera system and wound along the rocky terrain on foot, enduring temperature swings and a few muscle cramps along the way. Together, more than 9,500 panoramas of this masterpiece of nature are now available on Google Maps.

So no matter where you are, you don’t have to travel far or wait for warmer weather to explore Grand Canyon National Park. Check out some of our favorite views on our World Wonders site where you can find more information, facts and figures about the Grand Canyon, or in the updated Street View gallery, and happy (virtual) hiking!

Additional information:

How much of the Canyon did you collect?

This collection features more than 9,500 panoramas from the south rim of the Grand Canyon and nearby Meteor Crater. The imagery covers more than 75 miles of trails and surrounding roads.

Why did it take so long to take the raw data and make it ready to go live?

We use cutting edge technology to digitally reconstruct these locations, stitch the still images together into panoramic views, and we are constantly trying to improve the speed and efficiency of our process. Each location has its challenges which can vary the time required to launch them, and in this case, it took several months to process and prepare the imagery for release on Google Maps.

How do I access this imagery?
You can simply search for the Grand Canyon in Google Maps, and once you’ve zoomed in on the area, drag the orange pegman icon on the left of your map screen onto an area that becomes highlighted in blue. From there, you’ll be able to pan around and check out the imagery in 360-degrees.

What is the Street View Trekker?
The Trekker is a wearable backpack with a camera system on top. The Trekker is walked through pedestrian walkways or trails on foot, and automatically gathers images as it goes. Like our other Street View platforms, the Trekker has the Google Maps logo on it is decorated with Google designs.

Why did you go to the Grand Canyon?
The Grand Canyon was the perfect place to debut the Trekker because the narrow trails, ridges, and pedestrian-only access demonstrates exactly why the Street View systems have evolved from a Car to a Trike to a Snowmobile for the slopes and now to a Trekker. The imagery of various trails along the South Rim is now available online through the Street View feature in Google Maps, enabling anyone across the world to virtually experience the Grand Canyon and its majesty.

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