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Google Street View using backpack ‘Trekker’ cameras to map Grand Canyon

When you consider the myriad of locations to which the Google Street View team has been – from the Amazon rainforest to the Antarctic, and just about everywhere in between – it’s kind of surprising that until now it hadn’t set foot inside a place pretty much on its own doorstep: the Grand Canyon.

In a post on the Google Maps blog on Wednesday, Street View product manager Ryan Falor announced that a Street View team is now exploring parts of Arizona’s stunning national park, capturing images using – for the first time – a special camera-laden backpack dubbed the Trekker.

“The narrow ridges and steep, exposed trails of the Grand Canyon provide the perfect terrain for our newest camera system,” Falor said in the post. “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.”

Images are currently being taken around parts of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, including the ridge, the Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab Trail.

Falor was unable to give a specific date for when the panoramic views will be available for viewing, though said they’d be made part of the Street View service “soon”.

As Apple attempts to improve its much criticized Maps app by whatever means possible, Google is continuing to make improvements to what is already a powerful, feature-rich service. Earlier this month the Mountain View company announced updates to 250,000 miles of road on its Street View service, describing it as “the biggest Street View update ever.”

With Street View, armchair explorers can travel to all corners of the world in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, enjoying 360-degree ground-level views of places they might otherwise never have the chance to visit.

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