Trekker tech­nol­ogy

Australian Geographic - - Geo Buzz -

Google Street View be­gan with a bunch of reg­u­lar SLR cam­eras strapped to the roof of a car, a GPS unit and a laser de­vice to mea­sure dis­tances be­tween ob­jects in the images. The images were then patched to­gether us­ing stitch­ing tech­nol­ogy and use the co­or­di­nates and mea­sured dis­tances to cre­ate a kind of walk-through, 3D-ef­fect panoramic im­age of the scene. Skip ahead to today and Google now man­u­fac­tures its own cam­eras and has re­fined the im­age and data pro­cess­ing tech­nol­ogy to such an ad­vanced level that users can swivel 360 de­grees around a scene and see high-def­i­ni­tion im­agery at ev­ery turn.

For off-road lo­ca­tions like Ulur-u, Street View has de­vel­oped a back­pack­mounted cam­era rig.

It’s avail­able for loan to or­gan­i­sa­tions that have an as­set or lo­ca­tion of value to add to Street View. The Ulur-u project was the re­sult of just such a part­ner­ship with the North­ern Ter­ri­tory gov­ern­ment. The latest ver­sion of the Street View cam­era is the R7, a rosette of 15 fixed fo­cal length lenses pro­tected by a baf­fle with a GPS unit on top. Each of the 15 cam­eras cap­tures a photo ev­ery 2.5 sec­onds. Google’s soft­ware blends mul­ti­ple ex­po­sures to­gether, ad­just­ing and cor­rect­ing colours, bright­ness and other vari­ables to cre­ate the fi­nal 360-de­gree view. It can also blur faces and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. The cam­eras are op­er­ated by the wearer via a smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tion. While map­ping, the smart­phone re­ceives a qual­ity-con­trol im­age to en­sure noth­ing is im­ped­ing the view above. The cam­eras can col­lect spa­tial data and in­for­ma­tion from road sig­nage and other sources. Mas­sive quan­ti­ties of im­agery and co­or­di­nate data are col­lected as the cam­eras move. These are stored in a hard drive in the base of the unit.

The bat­tery pack is de­signed to last 8 hours.

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