A fleet of Google Street View cars – alongside a few trikes, snowmobiles and boats – has been capturing panoramic images of our roads and buildings for some time now, but there are certain areas they haven’t been able to reach. Well, until now.
The solution lies in a 1,2-metre (four-foot)-tall, backpack-mounted camera called the Trekker. Kitted out with 15 lenses – each attached to a five-megapixel camera – it takes a photograph every two-and-a-half seconds, sweeping in a full panorama above the user’s head.
It weighs a hefty 19 kilograms (42 pounds), but volunteers seem very keen to take the equipment into the wilderness. Charitable organisations, research institutions and the tourism industry are all eligible to apply to borrow the Trekker equipment, giving Google access to areas unreachable by their car-mounted cameras, and eventually allowing people to virtually explore national parks, ruined buildings and other difficult-to-reach areas like canyons and caves.