Google Street View has become an invaluable tool. You can use it for everything from checking out a location before you hit the road, to previewing a neighborhoods during your apartment hunt. Equally handy is Google Street View Trekker, which takes that street view camera off a car and clamps it onto a backpack hauled around by a hiker. That effort brings rugged trails, mountain peaks and all kinds of wilderness to your computer, no matter where you live or what kind of wilderness experience you dream about.
Or maybe you're not just dreaming. If you already have a trip planned for a location not yet recorded on Google Street View, you could be the person hauling that backpack around!
If you're interested in being a Google Street View trekker, the process is fairly straightforward. Basically, you just need to apply to borrow one of those fancy-looking packs from Google. Naturally, there are a couple of caveats.
First, you need to represent an organization — specifically a tourism board, nonprofit, government agency, university or research group. It's not a difficult requirement, but it does rule out the random hikers who just want to carry around the pack on a weekend getaway.
Next, Google isn't equally interested in all countries, so you'll have to ensure that your trek is in the right place. Still, there are about 55 eligible countries on the list, and that list is expanding, so there's bound to be a place you'll want to document.
Finally, you'll need to answer a few questions — like whether or not you'll help get the permits or releases required to photograph the locations, if you plan to promote the trek through your organization's public relations team, what are your goals while collecting imagery (other than looking especially cool and important while on the trail), and if you're hoping to get sponsorship from Google for the trek.
It's not a tough application by any means, so if you're genuinely interested in sharing an amazing slice of wilderness with the world, then wearing this backpack could be in your future.
You may want to hike with a buddy who can carry supplies because the trekker pack leaves little room for snacks, water or anything else. (Photo: Eli Duke/flickr)
For those who shrug off the size of that pack, here's a video of pure inspiration. (It looks like it was all taken from moving vehicles, but it will raise the heartbeat of any true travel bug!)