For hiking trails and other locations beyond the reach of cars.

Attention hikers: Google has patented a walking stick. And it has a camera on top of it that takes a photo every time the stick hits the ground.

Some very lucky Google employees will get to use these sticks to record periodic snapshots of hiking trails and other locations beyond the reach of the Streetview van.

Here's what it looks like in schematic form:

Previously, car-free areas included in Street View were the purview of tricycles, snowmobiles or giant backpacks, according to Google's patent application, which was filed in 2011 and approved this week.

For example, this is how Google took care of the Grand Canyon:

A walking stick would certainly be lighter.

And don't get clever and try and put a camera on top of a cane: Google foresaw your linguistic shenanigans. The patent also covers other "elongated members, such as a cane, a crutch, a monopod, a trekking pole, a staff or a rod."

Via Geekwire.

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