Forget Hiking! Google Maps Hits the Grand Canyon

Google Maps Grand Canyon Header

Spoiler Alert… for anyone who wants to be surprised by natural wonders like the Grand Canyon, don’t look at this! Google announced today that it has gotten into the hiking game… and they’re making it a lot easier for those who would rather go there by armchair. Today they released an extensive trail based tour the majestic Grand Canyon. Just like Google Street View, you can now cruise down over 75 miles of trails including the famous Bright Angel and Kaibab Trail. It’s a far sight easier than pulling on those old hiking boots.

To collect the panoramic imagery, Google employed their trusty new Street View Trekker. The 40 lb. devise is worn like a backpack and sports 15 lenses to capture the surrounding world. In this case, the pack and the hiker that carried it, collected over 9,500 panoramas of stunning scenery, including at least one very close encounter with some native wildlife (see picture below or here). One funny thing is that – like Street View where we often follow the same car for miles of road – the Google employee carrying the Street View Trekker is following the same hikers for long stretches of trail.

So what do you think? Is this a cool development or is Google just taking away all of life’s traveling surprises? I’m on the fence about it, but one cool thing was this: I was able to go back and look at the same spots I visited a few weeks ago, comparing the place in winter to Google’s warmer October based image. You can find out more from Google here.

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Via laughingsquid

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