The Grand Canyon really needs to be seen to be believed, but if that’s not possible for you then the Street View cameras have you covered.
The Grand Canyon was our inaugural collection using the Street View Trekker. The Trekker, our latest imagery-gathering apparatus, is a wearable backpack system that allows us to venture to locations only accessible by foot. The ability to take Street View to remote, hard-to-navigate places, such as the Grand Canyon, is a major opportunity to make the beauty and history of locations like these accessible to a global audience.
The rugged terrain, ridges and steep trails of the Grand Canyon are the perfect setting to showcase the functionality of the Trekker. The narrow trails would be inaccessible to our traditional Street View cars, trikes, and trolleys, but is perfect for the wearable Trekker backpack. The compact size of the Trekker makes it unobtrusive and easy to maneuver, while automatically gathering images as it goes. The Trekker is operated by an Android device and consists of 15 lenses at the top of the mast, each angled in a different direction that will enable us to stitch together a 360-degree panoramic view.
It took a team of 10 Googlers and 5 Trekkers about 3 full days to adequately capture the main trails of the Grand Canyon’s south rim. Two Trekker teams hiked down the Bright Angel Trail, camped overnight at Phantom Ranch, and then hiked out the next day along the South Kaibab Trail. Another three Trekker teams remained at the top of the Grand Canyon collecting imagery around the rim as well as the South Rim Trail. Our team also ventured out to collect imagery of Meteor Crater, just outside Grand Canyon National Park.
To continue making Google Maps as comprehensive and accurate as possible, we’re eager to take the Trekker still more places only accessible by foot. We look forward to sharing future collections with you that showcase more unique places around the world – from forest trails to the steps of ancient castles, and beyond.