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Technology / Software

Google Trekker takes over from car

Forget the Google Car, it’s now time to don the Google Backpack to capture images of the UK’s hard-to-reach rivers and canals.

Panoramic views of our most scenic waterways will soon be available to view on Google’s street view service, thanks to the camera-mounted backpack, called the Trekker.

Starting on the Regent’s Canal in London, the Trekker will capture over 100 miles and 60 locations of riverside beauty over the next month.

The backpack will be lent to the Canals and Rivers Trust, which is responsible for much of the country’s 200-year-old waterways.

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Volunteers at the trust will be fitted with the 4ft, 40lbs backpack, which has 15-angle lenses taking a picture every 2.5 seconds which can be merged into a 360degree view. The images will then be stitched together and added to Street View, which is available through Google Maps.

Google Street View was launched in 2007 but it was not until last year that they managed to develop the technology to go off-road.

Since then, images of the Antarctic, the inside of the White House and the Great Barrier Reef to Street View have all been added to Street View. They’ve even managed to capture the inside of Dr Who’s TARDIS.

Even Venice – known as the city without streets – had its alleyways and canals pictured.

The internet giant is currently accepting applications for its Street View Trekker programme, which allows volunteers to borrow the camera and capture unmapped locations of their choice.

Laurian Clemence, a spokesman for Google UK, said: "We would love to map everywhere we get requests for. There’s really nowhere out of its reach.

"This project will allow people from all over the world to see the most beautiful parts of the UK. It will allow them to view it from their home but also hopefully encourage them to go and visit.

"As with Street View we will respect the public’s privacy -blurring faces where we need to – and it we’ll only be walking on public land."

Wendy Hawk, partnerships manager of the Canal and River Trust, said: "We’re delighted to be the first people in the UK to get the Trekker on our backs – it’s fantastic that our 200-year old network is being given a different lease of life thanks to cutting edge, 21st-century technology.
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.