If you’ve always wanted to check out the Grand Canyon, but never got around to ticking off that task: Google Street View has found a way to tide you over for a bit.
Forget checking out grandma’s house or scoping out that hotel in Vegas before you get there. The search-engine giant has strapped its mobile cameras to the backs of its workers — who will spend this week walking the trails of Arizona’s famous wonder. And they’ll snapping 360-degree photos for Street View’s mapping feature.
When the job is finished, you’ll be able to catch some gorgeous views from the Grand Canyon trail and parts of the South Rim. Until now, the application has largely let map users see the streets and highways of major cities.
Google began adding street views to its maps five years ago. And since then, the company has said it wants to map and photograph every corner of the planet.
As the mapping expanded, Google also added images to its maps that let users explore natural territory. So far, the maps include panoramas from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Antarctica and the Amazon rain forest.
“Any of these sort of iconic, cultural, historical locations that are not accessible by road is where we want to go,” Ryan Falor, product manager at Google, told the Associated Press.
Reports say that Falor and his colleagues have been hiking some of the Canyon’s popular trails, including Bright Angel and South Kaibab. On their backs are a pack frame topped with a bright-blue sphere sprouting cameras in every direction. The Google crews reportedly use Android-powered phones to control the cameras and store the images on small hard drives.
The end result will be a smooth, continuous eye-level view of this natural masterpiece!