January 31, 2013
Google Maps Street View: Grand Canyon Edition
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Have you grown tired of virtually touring the gulags of North Korea?
Why not take a cruise around the Grand Canyon for a while?
Today, Google has announced that they´ve added some new imagery to their Google Maps Street View service. Now, users can take a virtual trip through more than 75 miles worth of trail in the Grand Canyon National Park, all from the comfort of their own home.
Last summer, Google announced they´d be deploying hikers with camera-equipped backpacks all over the world to expand their Street View offerings. These Street View Trekkers have spent a good amount of time in the Grand Canyon, covering plenty of ground and delivering loads of data back to Google HQ.
“Whether you´re planning an upcoming hike, or want to learn more about the Earth´s geological history, Google Maps can help,” explains a post in Google Maps´ Lat-Long blog.
“Today, we´re releasing panoramic imagery of one of the world´s most spectacular national monuments: 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.”
Google´s new Maps offering provides 360 degree and panoramic views of the famous Bright Angel Trail, the South Kaibab Trail and multiple views of the Colorado River. Google has even added a tour of the “nearby” Meteor Crater, all available with a few taps on the screen or trackpad.
Just as it is with other Maps offerings, users can drag and scan their way through trails, zoom in on rock formations, and even chase down elusive hikers who always seem just one step ahead.
Some of these hikers, by the way, are other Google-contracted hikers carrying around the 40-pound Trekker backpack.
“Our team strapped on the Android-operated 40-pound 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,” reads the Google blog.
“Together, more than 9,500 panoramas of this masterpiece of nature are now available on Google Maps. “
Google has added their tour of the Grand Canyon to their ongoing World Wonders Project, which includes the Great Barrier Reef, the Palace and Park of Versailles, Ancient Kyoto, and the Archeological Areas of Pompei.
Though not a part of their Street View project, Google recently announced improvements to their maps of North Korea. Thanks to a collaborative effort with local cartographer enthusiasts, Google was able to unveil accurate images of North Korea for the first time, including clear pictures of the nation´s infamous gulags.
As these images are a part of Google Maps and not Street View, the viewer is only allowed a sky-down satellite view of the area, as opposed to a feet-on-the-ground point of view.
As anyone who´s ever been to the Grand Canyon can attest, this natural spectacle is both breathtaking and beautiful. As such, anyone who is able should make every attempt to visit the area at least once in their lives. For those who live too far away or are looking for a quick reminder of the canyon´s beauty, Google´s new Street View tour should suffice.