Google wants to build the worldâ€™s best off-road map. And they want your help.
Janill Gilbert stashed this in Hiking
Last summer, Google launched a unique program in which it loans out backpack versions of its car-mounted Street View cameras, called Trekkers, to intrepid explorers.
The unit, which came with a 32-ounce Nalgene that dangled from one side at hip-level, was wired to a Galaxy Nexus, housed in a near-indestructible case that dangled from the other. The phone served as the packâ€™s controller, letting users tap in their manner of travel, with options including everything from canoe, to dogsled, to horseback. It also streamed a checkerboard of images across its screen as we hiked. Then the GPS-stamped, 360-degree pictures were saved to an ejectable, 480-gigabyte SSD disk.
With all that gear, though, the Trekker gets pretty heavy. Google says the basic pack is about 40 poundsâ€”but as soon as I put it on, I realized all the extras made the whole thing weigh considerably more. As I headed uphill, I had to work to keep a steady pace and stay upright. The soccer ballâ€“shaped camera above my head made the device seriously top-heavy. And I definitely didnâ€™t want to be the one to drop it: Googleâ€™s mum on what each Trekker costs, and I doubt I could afford to repair one.
Stashed in: Google