March 15, 2014
Google Street View Takes To The Colorado River
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Using images captured on an 8-day rafting excursion down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon, Google has made the “America’s Most Endangered River” available to see for anyone with internet access and a web browser.
The nonprofit organization American Rivers, which has dubbed Colorado the most endangered river in the country, partnered with the tech giant to create the 360-degree views and said it hopes the project will raise awareness about the river and water management practices.
To create the virtual trip down the river, Google partnered with Arizona River Runners and attached two Trekker cameras to rafts, which traveled downriver from Lee's Ferry to Pearce Ferry. The 40-pound cameras had 15 heads apiece, with each head pointing in a different direction capturing one image every 2.5 seconds.
"We collected photos when the sun was the highest," Karin Tuxen-Bettman, leader of the Colorado River Street View Project, told the Los Angeles Times. "The canyon is narrow in places, and we didn't want shadows overtaking (the shots)."
In addition to capturing the river, the team also captured several hiking trails that follow and overlook the river.
Earlier this week, the Raise the River campaign unveiled a series of videos from Robert Redford and comedian Will Ferrell participating in a mock debate over methods to reconnect the Colorado River to the Pacific Ocean, the founding cause for Raise the River.
While Redford argued in favor of Raise the River’s plan to reconnect the two bodies of water by restoring the river’s natural delta, Ferrell argued in favor of the fictitious “Move the Ocean” campaign - which would expand the Pacific “several hundred miles inland” to reach the Colorado River. Ferrell said this plan would accomplish the same goal, as well as support a group in need: surfers.
“We’ve got old Sundance riding around trying to Raise the River,” Ferrell said in one video. “Do we really need more river? We’ve got plenty of ocean, let’s move it.”
“Will. You need help. Seriously,” Redford responded.
“The approach each man takes couldn’t be more different,” explained Greg Stern, CEO of BSSP. “We thought that would be a good way to go beyond the expected public service announcement and get people to notice and take action on this important issue.”
“Both Redford and Ferrell seek to restore the Colorado River, but Ferrell’s Move the Ocean adds a layer of comedy and further engagement,” Stern added. “This is a new approach in getting people to notice and care about an important cause.”
“We saw this idea of a fictitious debate between Mr. Redford and Mr. Ferrell as a novel way to generate greater awareness of the very serious issues facing the Colorado River,” explained Jill Tidman, Executive Director of the Redford Center. “Bringing a sense of humor to the effort opens the door for a much greater audience and offers everyone a chance to be part of winning this campaign–and this is one we are going to win.”