Google Trekker coming to Australia
Walking tracks, remote locations and even caves are the target of Google's new backpack generated image library.PT0M0S 620 349
Google has brought its all-seeing eyes to Australia mounted on a backpack contraption called ''Trekker'', and plans to collect imagery of places only accessible by foot to incorporate into Street View on Google Maps.
On Tuesday, a Google employee captured scenes along the Bondi to Bronte walk in Sydney, using Trekker, which looks like something from outer space and captures images every 2.5 seconds with 15 cameras that are five megapixels each. Trekker weighs 18 kilograms and its cameras are situated about 60cms above the head of its collector.
The images it produces allows Google Maps users to virtually explore the locations it visits.
Google Australia spokesman Shane Treeves said the internet search giant had two trekker devices in Sydney and hoped to take them to some of the state's most famous locations, starting with Bondi Beach, Jervis Bay and Manly Beach.
''We're starting in Sydney and then looking to go across Australia,'' Mr Treeves said.
''Hopefully it [will] encourage more people to jump on a plane and see [the locations] in person.''
The imagery collected from around Sydney will be incorporated into Street View later this year, once the pictures have been run through special software which stitches them together and blurs peoples' faces.
In the future, Mr Treeves said Google Australia hoped to allow groups such as tourism boards, non-profit organisations, universities, and research teams to borrow trekker from Google as they are able to do in the United States.
Google launched its Street View feature using cars in 2007 and has expanded from five US cities to more than 3000 in 43 countries, including many in Australia. So far Google teams and volunteers have covered more than 8 million kilometres with the Street View vehicles and the company has since expanded its collection methods to using cameras mounted on tricycles, snowmobiles, trolleys, underwater scooters, backpacks and even boats.
Places the backpack Trekker has visited to date include the Galapagos Islands, Venice, the Eiffel Tower, Mount Fuji, Everest and the Grand Canyon.