Go on a virtual tour of South Africa
First there was Google Street View, which provides panoramic views along city streets around the world, enabling a viewer to navigate the street.
Then, in 2012, Google began capturing virtual tours in areas inaccessible to vehicles, focusing on countries with the best wild landscapes and wellknown tourist destinations.
All this was done using the Google Street View Trekker, a custom-made backpack weighing 22kg with an extension protruding above the carrier’s head. At the end is a sphere housing 15 high-definition cameras pointing in all directions.
When the Trekker is recording, the on-board technology captures the precise location of the person, and each camera takes an image every two seconds. These high-resolution photographs are stitched together digitally, creating a 360° panoramic view.
Later, by simply moving the mouse, a viewer can enjoy a leisurely virtual tour on his or her computer.
TRAILS AND NATIONAL PARKS
In South Africa, a team of more than 200 people were involved in the 12-month project. They hiked the length and breadth of South Africa to map 170 trails, 232 new points of interest, six Unesco World Heritage Sites, all 19 national parks, and more.
The Google hikers recorded wild animals, including lion, in many game reserves under the supervision of qualified rangers. “The hundreds of volunteers who helped along the way proved to be truly passionate about showing the best of South Africa,” says Magdalena Filak, programme manager for Google.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
Google encourages any person or business who feels they can add value to the collection to apply to borrow the 360° camera technology and help map the planet. This can be done through google.com/streetview/loan.
For a sample, go to bit.ly/experiencesa.
• Sources: huffingtonpost. co.za; hikingsouthafrica.co.za.
• Greg Miles is a livestock farmer and Internet marketer. Email him at farmer[email protected]ton.co.za. Subject line: Online farmer.