Trekking the Grand Canyon for Google Maps

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 3:00 AM


In our ongoing effort to create the perfect map—one that’s as comprehensive, accurate and easy to use as possible—we’ve gone well beyond just the streets. Through the Street View feature on Google Maps, you’ve been able to explore panoramic views of amazing places around the world ranging from the Swiss Alps to the Amazon to Antarctica, and a variety of urban cities, university campuses, ancient ruins and ski resorts as well.

Today, demonstrating the rocky and rugged paths we’ll travel to make Google Maps even more complete, we’re collecting imagery from a place no car, trike or snowmobile has ever been before. On its first official outing, the Street View team is using the Trekker—a wearable backpack with a camera system on top—to traverse the Grand Canyon and capture 360-degree images of one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes on the planet.


Operations Manager Steve Silverman (left) and Product Manager Ryan Falor (right)
hiking the Bright Angel Trail on the South Rim with Trekkers
The narrow ridges and steep, exposed trails of the Grand Canyon provide the perfect terrain for our newest camera system. The Trekker—which its operator controls via an Android phone and automatically gathers photos as he walks—enables the collection of high-quality imagery from places that are only accessible on foot.


Falor controlling the Trekker with his Android device
This week, photos are being gathered from portions of the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park, including the ridge, the famous Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail, and more. These panoramic views will soon be live on Google Maps, giving everyone from real-life visitors to armchair travelers the opportunity to marvel at this beautiful, majestic site from the comfort of their computers or mobile devices.

The team hiking the Bright Angel Trail
So get ready for the virtual adventure that awaits! And in the meantime, we’ll keep on trekken’ and working hard to bring you panoramic imagery of more visually stunning places we have yet to explore and share on Google Maps.

Posted by Ryan Falor, Product Manager, Google Street View