Google’s Street View team on Thursday unveiled the first images to come out of its Trekker Loan Program, which it launched last summer.
The program, which enlists the help of third-party organizations to capture data for Street View using its body-based Trekker camera, was presumably born out of the realization that it in its quest to map every square mile of the planet, it’d be quicker, easier and more cost effective to get others to help out.
While most of the Aloha state’s roads had already been covered by Google’s more familiar camera-laden cars, the Mountain View company decided to partner with the Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau (HVCB) to enrich this data by adding images from its plethora of hiking trails, parks, historical sites, and beaches.
The new content covers locations across Hawaii (the Big Island) and Oahu, Google said in a blog post announcing the fresh panoramic imagery.
“Hawaii is famous for its spectacular sandy beaches, like Hapunua Beach, but this tropical island paradise has much more to offer to all the outdoor adventurers out there,” Street View’s Evan Rapaport wrote in the post, adding, “Hike through a volcanic crater along the Kilauea Iki Trail, learn about Native Hawaiian culture at the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs, and take in the diverse flora at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.”
Rapaport said that over the last 30 days, Hawaii-related searches on Google.com have risen by 78 percent. With winter still lingering in much of the world and many freezing folk looking to escape to warmer climes in the coming months, perhaps the increasing interest in the Pacific islands shouldn’t surprise us. However, if a trip to Hawaii is a bit on the pricey side, or you’re more of a sofa loafer than an intrepid explorer, then Street View will happily take you there. Or just about anywhere, for that matter.