Google Maps is now bringing its quest to the public in a new way: Last week it released an application that interested people can submit to take the Trekker — the backpack-like device that was recently shown off at the Grand Canyon in January — to places where its people have yet to go. Specifically: “If you’re a tourism board, non-profit, university, research organization, or other third party who can gain access and help collect imagery of hard to reach places, you can apply to borrow the Trekker and help map the world.” The application is available on the Google Maps site.
What’s the Big Idea?
Since the Street View project began in 2007, it has mapped significant portions of North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia, as well as smaller areas elsewhere. However, there are still large parts of the world, including much of Asia and Africa, that remain to be discovered by adventurous backpackers with the strength to haul a 42-pound device. The Trekker works by taking photos about every 2.5 seconds from 15 lenses configured to allow for 360-degree views.
A recent study showed how using the software to identify struggling students could help teachers stay attuned to their needs, whether they’re in the room with them or at a remote location many miles away.