How Google mapped the Grand Canyon using unwieldy backpacks

first_imgToday, Google added the Grand Canyon to its armchair-explorer service, Google Maps‘ Street View. The addition doesn’t just show one trail that has been singled out, but contains over 75 miles of trails and surrounding roads.Google notes some famous portions of the Canyon are available to explore from the safety of your desk chair and air conditioner, such as the South Kaibab trail, Meteor Crater, and Bright Angel Trail. Of course, the imagery is present in a full 360 degrees so you can get a real sense of your virtual surroundings.Unlike the Street View of your neighborhood though, Google couldn’t send one of their famous cars driving along the Grand Canyon to map it, so they sent actual people in on foot to explore, using an Android-powered backpack called the Trekky.The backpack weighs 40 pounds, and is strapped to a person in the employ of Google whose literal job is to go on a hike for the good of the Internet. The Trekky is powered by Android (you’re guess is as good as ours as to what version), and contains 15 lenses that are angled in various directions so it can take images that can be connected to one another in order to form one coherent 360-degree panorama. The Trekky’s cameras snap pictures every 2.5 seconds as the hiker walks around.You can take a look at it in action below.Altogether, the end result of the mapping is 9,500 panoramic images of the Canyon available for your perusal so long as you have access to a web browser and an Internet connection.last_img