The mapping service's sherpas are on the trail, backpack topped with the camera orb in tow.

We're all familiar with the Google Street View cars at this point (and their Nokia cousins). They go buzzing around cities capturing data from the physical world. But there are places they cannot go, places that Google would really like to have imagery of, for example, say, the Grand Canyon. 

And so, Google being Google, they hacked together a solution: a backpack topped with the camera orb we know from the company's cars. The Trekker, as they call this new gear, is controlled via an (Android, obviously) phone and captures imagery automatically. 

The company showed off the Trekker in a June video and the Grand Canyon trip is its first official outing. Google stitches together these still images into the panoramas that you see on its maps site. 

The really exciting thing, though, is that you might someday see a guy outfitted like this walking through your local mall. Google, and all the other map companies, are hot to create indoor maps that are as good as their outdoor ones. The Trekker is one way they could do that. (Although certainly not the only way.)

Trekkers-Hiking_615.jpg

This is actually how everyone from Google looks when they go hiking. Except Sergey. He gets the glasses. (Google)

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A Vancouver house designed in a modern style
    POV

    How Cities Get 'Granny Flats' Wrong

    A Vancouver designer says North American cities need bolder policies to realize the potential of accessory dwellings.

  2. Transportation

    Are Electric Vehicles About to Hit a Roadblock?

    With the EV tax credit on the chopping block and Tesla experiencing production delays, dreams of an electric future might prove elusive in the U.S.

  3. An autonomous vehicle drives on a race track in California.
    Equity

    Driverless Cars Won’t Save Us

    In fact, they’ll do the opposite of what techno-optimists hope, and worsen—not ease—inequality.

  4. A toxic site in Niagara Falls, New York, seen from above.
    Environment

    The Toxic 'Blank Spots' of Niagara Falls

    The region’s “chemical genies” of the early 20th century were heralded as reaching into the future to create a more abundant life for all. Instead, they deprived future generations of their health and well-being.

  5. Equity

    Counting Down to a Census Doomsday

    Top-level vacancies and flatlined funding appear to be the Trump administration’s plans for the Census Bureau.