Hiking some of Oahu's best trails just got a lot easier for the indoor types. Now you can take in some of Hawaii's best sights right on your computer.
It’s done through Google Trekker. Think Google Maps street view, but this one goes off roading and takes you to places like Waimea Valley, Makapu'u Lighthouse, He'eia State Park, the old Pali Road, Malaekahana Beach Park and more.
Both Google and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau teamed up to showcase some of Oahu's most popular trails, parks and beaches.
While helping to hike up tourism numbers is a top priority, so is public safety.
“It serves as a way for people to get an idea before they come here of what to expect,” said Andrew Bailey, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.
“It allows people to see a trail and maybe it’s a little too difficult for their family, so they choose another trail that’s safer and gives them all the joy they’re looking for,” said Jay Talwar of the HVCB.
Fifteen trails on Oahu have been taken care of so far. Click here to see them on Google Maps.
Workers carry the trekker device to take hundreds of pictures along the way. Then Google loads it to its maps page for the public to see.
“It’s a phenomenon to go on Google and search for something. We saw data when Hawaii Island was first launched that the Google search for the term just ‘Hawaii’ was up 72 percent the first month after we did the launch of the Google Trekker there,” said Talwar.
Viewers may notice the blurred faces. That’s because Google's only focus is on places.
“Most people are asking will I be famous. Unfortunately no, Google does blur out your faces. So, it’s very privacy conscious, but most people will try to pose on the side or make sure they’re in he shot as we’re walking by; just king of curious about what the whole project is,” said Bailey.
There was some concern originally about the trekker view causing trails to get more crowded, raising possible safety issues, but the HVCB says it worked closely with the Department of Land and Natural Resources to pick out exactly what places to promote.
There's 15 trails showcased at the moment across Oahu.
The trekker view rolled out on the Big Island earlier this year and Kauai is on tap for shooting next month. Garden Isle pictures will go online next spring.