Trails for everyone, forever

Home News Blog Google Brings Street View to Hiking Trails

Google Brings Street View to Hiking Trails

Posted by Susan Elderkin at Jun 13, 2012 10:25 AM |

Google has announced that it is bringing their Street View maps to a hiking trail near you.

Going where no 40 pound backpack-mounted multi-lens video camera has gone before, Google has announced that it is bringing its Street View maps to a hiking trail near you.

"You’ve seen our cars, trikes, snowmobiles and trolleys—but wheels only get you so far. There’s a whole wilderness out there that is only accessible by foot," wrote Brian McClendon, Vice President of Engineering for Google Maps on the company's Lat Long Blog on June 6.

Called Street View Trekker, the new technology will be photographing national parks, canyons and historic places. The backpack will contain the big eyeball that hovers above the backpack with 15 cameras, a hard drive and a battery pack that will run for one or two days.

>> Watch a video with the camera here


Google's camera

I think we should leave the "wild" in wilderness. This is going too far. And, Google would not be doing this if they did not plan to make money off the concept. In short they are using the public lands to generate income. What are we the taxpayers and owners of the land getting for it?

Posted by:

"Old Mountain Man" on Jun 13, 2012 09:29 PM

Google Wilderness Camera

Is nothing sacred? Part of the reason people hike is to see things that can't be seen just sitting in a car. Working for the beauty of the wilderness is part of what makes it special. If google makes a pile of $$ on this they should at least be required to kick a large percentage back to the lands they are exploiting.

Posted by:

Dave Frederick on Jun 13, 2012 09:54 PM

Unplug & Enjoy

Seriously, WTF? Want to see what a trail looks like? Get off your butt and walk it. Bring map & compass, but let the rest be a delightful (or boring or terrifying) surprise. Un-freakin'-plug and experience real life now and then. Overplanning robs you of the joy of discovery.

Posted by:

"Donald Shank" on Jun 15, 2012 05:58 AM


I disagree, this is just a way to get an example/preview of what you will see on the trail. Would you say the same thing about the google street view? I use it all the time to get an idea of what it looks like in downtown Paris because I want to travel there someday. As any traveler or hiker knows, a picture does nothing compared to when you are actually there. So I think this is a cool addition for that purpose.

However, I agree with others as far as the profits google will be making off of this. Is this even legal? They should pay a % of the profits back to the state or whoever owns these grounds. Then again, should the pay that back to the cities for taking pictures on their road? It's a tough argument.

Posted by:

FiresideChats on Jun 15, 2012 05:58 AM


I might be outspoken here...The trails that we have in Washington are beautiful. The US national parks are great. With that said, they are not always accessible...whether it be because someone's years have caught up to them, medical illness, busted knee, a new family, or geography. I will be moving soon, and I can bet there will be a slow Friday in the office, where I will be cruising this reminiscing on the trails I've done, the views at the top and along the way, and the memories made. Exposing people who might not otherwise know "what the big deal is about" can only help (even in a small way) promote awareness of our parks, green spaces, and trail systems that many of us fight so hard to protect. It might just get them to leave their desk and go check it out with their families...which is what many of you are suggesting.

Posted by:

"agdoc04" on Jun 15, 2012 08:18 AM

Google Street View Trekker

Aside from the name, I love this idea! Anything to help encourage more folks to experience the outdoors. Most folks don't have any idea how beautiful it is in the outdoors cause they rarely hike and if so, they don't go far from the trail head. The more exposure people get to our beautiful mountains, lakes, etc. the more supportive they will be of preserving them.

Posted by:

"Hike Ninja" on Jun 19, 2012 01:04 PM

Google Street View Trekker

Actually this could be a boon for national parks and wilderness areas because they can use this technology to justify not making everything ridiculously accessible. While I will still hike trails probably ignoring the pictures and tutorials available for them because I like to be outside physically exerting myself not everyone is able to do that this seems like a low impact way to accommodate people.
In the words of Ed Abbey,
"A venturesome minority will always be eager to set off on their own, and no obstacles should be placed in their path; let them take risks, for Godsake, let them get lost sunburnt, stranded, drowned, eaten by bears, buried alive under avalanches-that is the right and privilege of any free American. But the rest, the majority, most of them new to the out-of-doors, will need and welcome assistance, instruction, and guidance. Many will not know how to saddle a horse, read a topographical map, follow a trail over slick rock, memorize landmarks build a fire in the rain, treat snakebite, rappel down a cliff, glissade down a glacier, read a compass, find water under sand, load a burro, splint a broken bone, bury a body, patch a rubber boat, portage a waterfall, survive a blizzard, avoid lightning, cook a porcupine, comfort a girl during a thunderstorm, predict the weather, dodge falling rock, climb out of a box canyon, or pour piss out of a boot." Polemic Industrial Tourism and the National Parks- Desert Solitaire.
If people can appreciate wilderness through technology, that seems a lot less invasive then bulldozing new roads through wilderness or laying down concrete on top of an alpine meadow.

Posted by:

"Pika" on Jun 19, 2012 01:04 PM


This is lame. Google is lame. Anyone who wants to experience a trail via a fisheye lens is lame. With that said, I want this guys job. Although i doubt he'll be doing any summits with that thing on his back.

Posted by:

"letthewookiewin" on Jul 06, 2012 10:55 PM


I agree this would be a sweet job, to hike all day....
It must be experienced to be real. we are along with avid hikers, white water kayakers. There is so much on u tube head cams showing river trips.... but what people see there vs what I see, feel and experience are not even close to the same. same as hiking. Google creating this in no way will take what we truly experience away or even diminish it.
 What could happen is lawsuits for injuries, because trails were portrayed a certain way ...and trails change. I actually don't agree with this, it will give novices a false sense!

Posted by:

"Weluv2hike." on Jul 06, 2012 10:55 PM