Nature lovers take note – Galapagos Islands coming to Google Street View

street view galapagosFamed for their rich and diverse ecosystems, and consequently for the role they played in helping Charles Darwin form his theory of evolution, the Galapagos Islands have fascinated biologists, researchers and nature enthusiasts the world over.

Their relatively isolated location hundreds of miles off the west coast of Ecuador means they’re not the easiest place to get to, or the cheapest, for that matter.

With Google seemingly intent on mapping every square inch of the planet, it was only a matter of time before it got its panoramic camera gear in among the islands’ flora and fauna, a move that will soon allow anyone with an Internet connection to explore the area’s rich biodiversity from the comfort of their own living room.

In a post on its LatLong blog on Thursday, Google Maps project lead Raleigh Seamster revealed that a team of photographers have been working in the Galapagos Islands collecting panoramic imagery for its Street View site, with the fruits of their labor set to be rolled out later in the year.

The project was made possible thanks to a partnership with the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galapagos National Parks Directorate (GNPD).

street view galapagos islands

“It’s critical that we share images with the world of this place in order to continue to study and preserve the islands’ unique biodiversity,” Seamster wrote in the post.

The team spent 10 days on the islands, hiking, boating and diving. Sounds like fun, but don’t forget, they were lugging around a pretty hefty camera-equipped backpack – dubbed the Trekker – as they went about their task.

The Trekker is used for locations its camera-laden cars, trikes, trolleys and snowmobiles are unable to access – such as the Grand Canyon, where the Trekker was first put through its paces.

This body-based camera is operated by an Android device and comprises 15 lenses positioned at various angles, allowing for the images to be stitched together to create the familiar 360-degree panoramic views we see on Street View. The Trekker snaps photos once every every 2.5 seconds.

street view galapagos marine

“We walked past giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies, navigated through steep trails and lava fields, and picked our way down the crater of an active volcano called Sierra Negra,” Seamster wrote.

Underwater shots taken around the islands will also be coming to Street View, images made possible thanks to help from the the Catlin Seaview Survey. This is the second time Google has teamed up with the Catlin Seaview Survey – last year the pair worked together to map Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Besides allowing nature enthusiasts to marvel at the wonder of the Galapagos Islands from anywhere in the world, the gathered data will also help scientists to analyse and evaluate the changing condition of the islands and their marine environment.

“We hope this Street View imagery not only advances the important scientific research, but also inspires you to learn more about this special place,” Seamster said, adding, “We can’t wait to share this amazing imagery with you later this year.”

Product Review

Volvo’s redesigned 2019 S60 sedan is the best kind of remix

The 2019 Volvo S60 borrows almost everything from other recent Volvo models, but that’s not a problem. From its infotainment system to an available plug-in hybrid powertrain, the S60 takes the best bits from a lineup of great cars.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games out right now

More than four years into its lifespan, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Mobile

Huawei and Leica’s monochrome lens is dead, so we celebrate its life

The Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro do not have a dedicated monochrome camera lens, unlike the P20 Pro, and various Huawei and Leica phones before it. It's the end of an era, and also the start of a new one, as Leica has worked on its…
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Computing

Corsair’s latest SSD boasts extremely fast speeds at a more affordable price

Despite matching and besting the performance of competing solid-state drives from Samsung and WD, the Corsair Force Series MP510 comes in at a much more affordable price. Corsair boasts extremely fast read and write speeds.
Computing

New Windows 10 19H1 preview lets users remove more pre-installed Microsoft apps

With the release of the latest Windows 10 19H1 preview build on October 17, Microsoft is letting some consumers remove more of the pre-installed inbox app bloatware from their machines. 
Computing

Apple’s 2020 MacBooks could ditch Intel processors, arrive with ‘ARM Inside’

If you're buying a MacBook in 2020, be on the lookout for a new "ARM Inside" banner. Apple is reportedly working on transitioning away from Intel processors for its MacOS lineup in favor of new custom A-series ARM-based silicon.
Social Media

Tumblr promises it fixed a bug that left user data exposed

A bug on blogging site Tumblr left user data exposed. The company says that once it learned of the flaw, it acted quickly to fix it, adding that it's confident no data linked to its users' accounts was stolen.
Computing

Microsoft patent highlights a potential VR text input system

A new patent awarded to Microsoft could lead to a new typing method for virtual reality and on Xbox consoles. The virtual radial dial puts letters within easy reach of joystick commands and offers predictive typing, too.
Computing

Ryzen shine! AMD’s next CPUs could beat Intel at gaming in 2019

AMD's upcoming Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 CPUs could offer as much as a 13-percent increase in instruction per clock. With clock speed or core count increases, that could gave them a huge performance boost.
Computing

Samsung Galaxy Book 2 packs Snapdragon 850 into Always Connected Windows 2-in-1

The Samsung Galaxy Book 2 is set to go on sale at the start of November and should be a solid addition the collection of Always Connected Windows laptops. It packs a Snapdragon 850 and a 20-hour battery.
Computing

A ThinkPad tablet with a foldable screen could be in Lenovo’s future

Lenovo may be working on its own version of Project Andromeda. The company is reportedly working on a 13-inch tablet that can fold down to just nine inches for travel by leveraging LG Display's foldable screen technology.
Computing

Consider an extended warranty plan if you buy a Surface Pro 6

Though Microsoft offers a standard one-year warranty on the Surface Pro 6, consumers may want to purchase an extended warranty plan if they intend on keeping their tablet longer due to the device's low repairability score.
Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Book 2 is a Surface Pro alternative with one big advantage

The 2-in-1 form factor is clearly a big deciding factor for anyone looking to buy a new device, which is why Samsung is again getting in the action this year with the new Galaxy Book 2.