Trampers can now traverse New Zealand from the comfort of their living rooms, beds or wherever they plug in their computers after the country’s Great Walks were added to Google's Street View.
The four-year project was a collaboration between New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, Air New Zealand (a partner of DoC's and sponsor of the Great Walks) and the search engine behemoth.
442,200 footsteps, 335kms, 15 cameras, seven Great Walks, one Trekker. As a premier sponsor of the Great Walks we’re excited to partner with Google & the New Zealand Department of Conservation to share a new virtual perspective of our Great Walks, launched exclusively in New Zealand today. #GoogleTrekkerNZPosted by Air New Zealand on Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Visitors can now take in a 360 degree panamoramic view of the Milford, Kepler, Abel Tasman, Waikaremoana, Heaphy, Routeburn and Rakiura/Stewart Island tracks after the maps were launched on Google yesterday.
New Zealand’s Great Walks now join other sites of natural wonder such as the Grand Canyon, Japan’s Mt Fuji, the Galapagos Islands and many others.
Google used a backpack fitted with 15 360 degree cameras to give an all round view of the surrounding landscapes, which is nicely demonstrated in the videos below uploaded by Radio New Zealand.
Kiwi trekker Matt Jenke, who had the demanding task of recording the New Zealand images, covered 335km carrying the cumbersome 18kg backpack, which as he explained to 3News, did not go unnoticed.
Interviewed at the launch event, Prime Minister John Key said it was cool but “there’s nothing to beat the real experience”.
The detail of the imagery captured is remarkably precise as all sites which are featured are geo-located to within one metre, Google programme manager, Steve Silverman explained.
Google Street View has now mapped seven continents and more than 65 countries but it hopes to one day include Mt Everest, as discussed in an interview with NPR on the first trek (the Grand Canyon) back in 2012.
And now we wait for the embarrassing shots that were inadvertently captured during the process.