Destination BC and Northern BC take Google’s Trekker on a hike through BC
Destination BC and the Northern BC Tourism Association have partnered with Google to journey beyond the road this summer, to add stunning imagery from British Columbia’s wild places to Google Maps.
The tourism agencies have been loaned two Google Street View Trekkers — wearable backpacks outfitted with 15 separate cameras that collect 360-degree panoramic imagery in remote outdoor locations inaccessible by car. From June to September, teams from Destination BC, Northern BC Tourism and other regional tourism partners will hike desert trails, roam old-growth forests and climb majestic mountains to capture iconic BC destinations rich in culture and history.
Using Google Street View, British Columbians and people from around the globe will be able to virtually hike in some of the province’s vast wilderness and be inspired by the powerful nature they see around them. After the images are collected, they will be sent to the Google Maps team in California to be processed and uploaded to Google Maps, which takes several months. When the images go live on Google Maps, British Columbia’s wild places will join a select group of bucket-list Street View Trekker destinations such as the Pyramids of Giza, the Grand Canyon and the Galapagos Islands.
This is the largest Trekker mapping project ever undertaken between a provincial tourism marketing organization and Google in Canada. Over the next 100 days, teams will trek more than 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) throughout BC to visually map a collection of must-see destinations in every region of the province.
In Northern BC treks will feature the rugged sea-swept coast and Aboriginal culture of Haida Gwaii and explore Mount Edziza and Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Parks, among many other diverse landscapes and eco-systems. People will walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs in Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark and roam Ancient Forest/ Chun T’oh Wudujut (pronounced Chun Toe Wood-yu-jud) Park, BC’s newest provincial park, home to giant western cedar trees and part of the only known inland temperate rainforest in the world.
Destination BC is working closely with its other regional tourism partners to select unique locations in their areas that showcase British Columbia’s spectacular nature and exhilarating places.
Maya Lange, VP Global Marketing, Destination BC -
“Once you experience the power of BC’s wilderness, you are forever under its spell. Trekker’s immersive 360-technology will bring to life the majesty of our province in an unforgettable way. With this partnership, we are on the leading edge of tourism marketing innovation in today's hyper-competitive global marketplace.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour -
“The stunning images taken by Google Trekker will showcase British Columbia to the world. Whether it’s Northern BC’s Ancient Forest or another one of our amazing parks or pristine wilderness areas, these pictures will encourage British Columbians and potential visitors world-wide to come to our Super, Natural, British Columbia® province!”
Clint Fraser, Chief Executive Officer, Northern BC Tourism Association -
“Northern BC Tourism is thrilled about this opportunity and what it means for our tourism region. We will now be able to literally put Northern BC’s wild places and spaces on the map for the world to see. Allowing users to experience our wilderness virtually will inspire them to visit in the future and we are excited to partner with Google to make this happen.”
Nicole Bell, Google Maps spokesperson, Google Canada -
“Bringing the Trekker to British Columbia, especially some of the more remote locations, is part of Google’s goal to create the world’s most comprehensive, accurate and usable map. More than one billion people around the world use Google Maps every month, and the images collected over the next few weeks will help to put some of British Columbia's iconic landscapes on the proverbial map of tomorrow. We are really excited to see the images that are captured over the next few weeks, and to share the beauty of this region with the world.”
Destination BC and Northern BC Tourism Association team members were trained by Google to use the specialized Street View Trekker equipment.
Trekker units are in high demand around the world and access to the technology is limited. Destination British Columbia and the Northern BC Tourism Association successfully secured two Trekkers during the summer months for this province-wide mapping project.
The Trekker enables Google’s Street View to feature more places around the world — places no car, trike, trolley or snowmobile can access. This wearable backpack is outfitted with a camera system on top, and its portability allows Google to gather images while manoeuvring through tight, narrow spaces or locations only accessible by foot.
Google’s first collection using the Trekker was taken along the rough, rocky terrain of Arizona's Grand Canyon. The Trekker has since been mounted on trikes, sleds and snowmobiles. Trekker cameras have even been modified to capture undersea imagery in places like the Galapagos Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Trekker weighs approximately 18 kilograms (40 pounds), and is the size of a large hiking backpack. It’s about 1.5 metres (4 feet) in height when set on the ground, and when worn, the camera system extends 60 centimetres (2 feet) above the operator’s shoulders.