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Cars, trikes, and more create Google Street View

Google Maps Street ViewThe Grand Canyon is yet another place that Google brings to your digital screens, from their Street View family of content. Google has been collecting street-level views of our world at a vast scale possible only because of it’s deep pockets and technical expertise. 

The Trekker enables Street View to feature more places around the world - places no car, trike, trolley or snowmobile can access.

Trekker is a wearable backpack outfitted with a camera system on top. It’s portability enables Google to gather images while maneuvering through tight, narrow spaces or locations only accessible by foot. The Trekker is operated by an Android device and consists of 15 lenses angled in a different direction so the images can be stitched together into 360-degree panoramic views. As the operator walks, photos are taken roughly every 2.5 seconds. See a view of the Bright Angel Trail. Read more at Google’s blog announcement.

When a group of art-loving Googlers wanted to take Street View technology to museums around the world, we needed to develop a system that could easily fit through museum doorways and navigate around sculptures.

Trolley goes into museums. Google developed a push-cart system that could easily fit through museum doorways and navigate around sculptures. Here are views of several museums Google has covered.

Once we were able to take the Trike to all of these interesting places, we got to thinking about where else we could go and had the idea of putting our Street View equipment on a snowmobile.

Snowmobile was another hack, put together over the course of a few weekends (they say) using some 2x4s, duct tape, and extra hard drives wrapped in ski jackets to last through the freezing conditions. Motivated by the 2010 Winter Olympics, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada — the snowmobile mapped slopes and trails which fans would be seeing during the games.

While we’ve been able to visit some beautiful places around the world with the Street View car, some of the most interesting and fun places aren’t accessible by car.

Trike is a three-wheel bicycle developed in 2009 for recording from parks and trails, university campuses, theme parks, zoos, monuments, sports stadiums, and the like. For these locations, which are often private land, Google signs a deal with the location. They have a submission form for new locations, which is highly overbooked.

Since Street View launched for five U.S. cities in May 2007, we've expanded our 360-degree panoramic views to include locations on all seven continents.

Cars were Google’s first step into street views, launching in 2007 with 5 U.S. cities, and now delivering 360° panoramic views from locations worldwide. Starting with an SUV, then a van, Google settled on a fleet of cars. The latest car has 15 lenses taking 360 degrees of photos. It also has motion sensors to track its position, a hard drive to store data, a small computer running the system, and lasers to capture 3D data to determine distances within the Street View imagery.

A related project takes underwater panoramas, such as a view of Lady Elliot Island, QLD, Australia.

Check out Google’s gallery of some of their best street view collections. Hopefully they will continue to connect more of our world.

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