Google Sends Backpackers to Explore the World

Want to travel to an amazing location on behalf of Google? Google is on the look-out for adventurous people to take the Google Trekker out for a walk. The Trekker is a street view tool, designed as a backpack with a 360 degree camera attached, built to bring images of places where Google camera cars can’t go. The Trekker backpack is operated by an Android device, equipped with a 15-lens camera system that pops out of the top of the wearable pack and takes pictures roughly every 2.5 seconds.  Each lens points in a different direction so that when combined all of the images can be stitched into 360-degree panoramic views.

Applying for a Trekker is pretty simple, you just have to explain the destination you have in mind, provide your contact information, and say whether or not you plan to help raise money for your trip. You can travel alone, or apply as part of an organization like a non-profit, university, or a research group. Google also asks to describe your location in detail and explain to them what makes this place incredible.

Google Maps Grand CanyonThe effort formally began on foot as Google took three of its Trekker backpacks down into the Grand Canyon National Park for the new gadgetry’s maiden voyage. The Trekker was designed to take it to the rugged, remote locations. It is waterproof and can handle heat, cold, and all kinds of abuse on trails.  Google recently used the Trekker to photograph the world’s tallest building. The opportunities for the Trekker are endless if you have the guts. Some of the Trekkers were even strapped to mules during their Grand Canyon tours for Google. The Trekker produced thousands of breathtaking, controllable panoramic images for those who can’t (or won’t) make it to Arizona. It’s like window shopping for people who want to explore the amazing things to do in the Grand Canyon. The stunning images give breathtaking views of the Colorado River, Bright Angel Trail, and other landmarks.

Related:  Temporary Day-Use Trail Closures Planned for North Kaibab Trail Section

Keep in mind hauling the 40- pound heavy Trekker doesn’t make you a Google employee – high salaries, amazing perks, lavish offices – none of that. The new Trekker pilot program is part of Google’s ongoing effort to make it possible for anyone to contribute to Google Maps.

But is Google taking the beauty and wonder away from these special places by documenting everything? Isn’t part of a great travel experience the effort it typically takes to get there?

What are your feelings about the Trekker?