Go on a vir­tual tour of South Africa

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Lifestyle Books - FW

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.

GREG MILES

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