A closer look at Trekker in the Grand Canyon

We're particularly excited to unveil imagery from the Grand Canyon because it is our inaugural collection using the Street View Trekker. The Trekker, our latest imagery-gathering apparatus, is a wearable backpack system that allows us to venture to locations only accessible by foot. The ability to take Street View to remote, hard-to-navigate places, such as the Grand Canyon, is a major opportunity to make the beauty and history of locations like these accessible to a global audience.

The rugged terrain, ridges and steep trails of the Grand Canyon are the perfect setting to showcase the functionality of the Trekker. The narrow trails would be inaccessible to our traditional Street View cars, trikes, and trolleys, but is perfect for the wearable Trekker backpack. The compact size of the Trekker makes it unobtrusive and easy to maneuver, while automatically gathering images as it goes. The Trekker is operated by an Android device and consists of 15 lenses at the top of the mast, each angled in a different direction that will enable us to stitch together a 360-degree panoramic view.

It took a team of 10 Googlers and 5 Trekkers about 3 full days to adequately capture the main trails of the Grand Canyon's south rim. Two Trekker teams hiked down the Bright Angel Trail, camped overnight at Phantom Ranch, and then hiked out the next day along the South Kaibab Trail. Another three Trekker teams remained at the top of the Grand Canyon collecting imagery around the rim as well as the South Rim Trail. Our team also ventured out to collect imagery of Meteor Crater, just outside Grand Canyon National Park.

To continue making Google Maps as comprehensive and accurate as possible, we're eager to take the Trekker still more places only accessible by foot. We look forward to sharing future collections with you that showcase more unique places around the world - from forest trails to the steps of ancient castles, and beyond.

    South Kaibab Trail

    The South Kaibab Trail follows a ridge out to Skeleton Point allowing for 360-degree views of the canyon. The South Kaibab Trail is also part of the Arizona Trail system, crossing the state of Arizona from Mexico to Utah. (Source)
    The South Kaibab Trail follows a ridge out to Skeleton Point allowing for 360-degree views of the canyon. The South Kaibab Trail is also part of the Arizona Trail system, crossing the state of Arizona from Mexico to Utah. (Source)
    The trail originates at the Grand Canyon Village on the south rim of Grand Canyon, descending 4380 feet to the Colorado River. It has an average grade of 10% along its entire length. Grand Canyon National Park categorizes the Bright Angel Trail as a corridor trail. With this designation it receives regular maintenance and patrols by park rangers. (Source)
    The Colorado River is the principal river of the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. The 1,450-mile (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. and two Mexican states. (Source)
    Meteor Crater lies at an elevation of about 1,740 m (5,709 ft) above sea level. It is about 1,200 m (4,000 ft) in diameter, some 170 m deep (570 ft), and is surrounded by a rim that rises 45 m (150 ft) above the surrounding plains. (Source)
    The ranch continues to be one of the most popular destinations in the national park system; its accommodations are often sold out for a year in advance. The site now includes cabins, dormitories a restaurant, a mule corral, emergency medical facilities, a ranger station, the Bright Angel Campground, a beach that is frequently visited by Colorado River rafters, and a heliport. (Source)
    Grand Canyon National Park is the United States' 15th oldest national park. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, is often considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. (Source)